Webb captures stellar gymnastics in the Cartwheel Galaxy

Tue, 02 Aug 2022 07:00:00 GMT
ESA Top News

The Cartwheel Galaxy, a rare ring galaxy once shrouded in dust and mystery, has been unveiled by the...

The Cartwheel Galaxy, a rare ring galaxy once shrouded in dust and mystery, has been unveiled by the imaging capabilities of the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.

The galaxy, which formed as a result of a collision between a large spiral galaxy and another smaller galaxy, not only retained a lot of its spiral character, but has also experienced massive changes throughout its structure.

Webb has peered into the chaos of the Cartwheel Galaxy, revealing new details about star formation and the galaxy's central black hole.

Webb's powerful infrared gaze produced this detailed image of the Cartwheel and two smaller companion galaxies against a backdrop of many other galaxies.

This image provides a new view of how the Cartwheel Galaxy has changed over billions of years.

Its appearance, much like that of the wheel of a wagon, is the result of an intense event - a high-speed collision between a large spiral galaxy and a smaller galaxy not visible in this image.

The Cartwheel Galaxy sports two rings - a bright inner ring and a surrounding, colourful ring.

It reveals regions within the Cartwheel Galaxy rich in hydrocarbons and other chemical compounds, as well as silica dust, like much of the dust on Earth.

The galaxy, which was presumably a normal spiral galaxy like the Milky Way before its collision, will continue to transform.

While Webb gives us a snapshot of the current state of the Cartwheel, it also provides insight into what happened to this galaxy in the past and how it will evolve in the future.

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