One fascinating aspect of our Universe is that it can contain instances of creation even in destruction. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which has already been very busy lately when it comes to uncovering some of the wonders of the Universe, has now hit the jackpot.
Two galaxies known by the common name of IC 1623 were photographed by James Webb as they collided and ignited a burst of star formation, according to Space.com. The merge is giving birth to stars about 20 times faster than our Milky Way galaxy does it.
Hubble saw it first!
Astronomers were able to take a good look at IC 1623 even before they used the power of the James Webb Space Telescope. The good old Hubble brought back data of the merging galaxies before, but it wasn’t able to also see the new stars that keep popping out of the merge itself.
Time for a cosmic crossover!
Two galaxies collectively known as IC 1623 are seen merging together by Hubble (left) and @NASAWebb (right).
Their collision has ignited a frenzy of starbirth: https://t.co/3YV4J2WQUt
Why do these views look different? ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/GECdap63MY
— Hubble (@NASAHubble) October 25, 2022
The difference is that James Webb’s infrared light was able to penetrate through the thick layers of dust that the two galaxies are surrounded by. There’s even a chance that a supermassive black hole is also forming in the region, but astronomers still have some work to do to confirm or deny its existence.
If you’re somehow planning to make a trip to either one of the stars of the two galaxies in question, you should cancel it immediately. IC 1623 is located extremely far away from our planet – roughly 270 million light-years away from Earth, to be more precise.
Just a few days ago, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) snapped a photo at the Pillars of Creation, meaning a well-known cosmic structure that consists of elephant trunks of interstellar gas and dust. The structure has its location in the Eagle Nebula, which means over 6,500 light-years away from Earth.
The new research was published in The Astrophysical Journal.