Webb Captures Stellar Gymnastics in The Cartwheel Galaxy

Wed, 03 Aug 2022 04:47:18 GMT
Space Daily

Baltimore MD (SPX) Aug 03, 2022 NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has peered into the chaos of the...

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope 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.

Collisions of galactic proportions cause a cascade of different, smaller events between the galaxies involved; the Cartwheel is no exception.

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

The galaxy displays many individual blue dots, which are individual stars or pockets of star formation.

It reveals regions within the Cartwheel Galaxy rich in hydrocarbons and other chemical compounds, as well as silicate 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.