NASA launched the James Webb Space Telescope (aka James Webb or simply JWST) last year on Christmas after a lot of postpones. But we now receive even more confirmation that it was surely worth the wait.
Less than a month ago, James Webb finally unveiled the first full-color images of the distant Universe for the world to see: the Carina Nebula, Stephan’s Quintet, the Southern Ring Nebula, WASP-96b, and SMACS 0723.
After using its infrared gaze, James Webb now brings a new photo of the Cartwheel Galaxy that’s located 500 million light-years away from Earth. We’re talking about a mesmerizing galaxy that has now been photographed in unprecedented detail.
You may have already guessed why they call it the Cartwheel Galaxy. Here’s why:
Time to reinvent the wheel.
Here’s the Cartwheel Galaxy in a whole new light — as a composite image from 2 instruments on the Webb telescope. Webb uniquely offers not just a snapshot of the galaxy’s current state, but also a peek into its past & future: https://t.co/QdXPwAwwac pic.twitter.com/SJD3wTxwRP
— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) August 2, 2022
Here’s what NASA has to say in a statement:
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.
As in the case of many other galaxies out there, including our own Milky Way galaxy, there’s a black hole located at the center of the Cartwheel Galaxy.
NASA also speaks about the impressive powers of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST):
The Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), Webb’s primary imager, looks in the near-infrared range from 0.6 to 5 microns, seeing crucial wavelengths of light that can reveal even more stars than observed in visible light. This is because young stars, many of which are forming in the outer ring, are less obscured by the presence of dust when observed in infrared light.
We all have to admit that the future of astronomy sounds great, at least when the James Webb Space Telescope is used.