NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Captures Photo of the ‘Phantom Galaxy’

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Captures Photo of the ‘Phantom Galaxy’
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A bit more than a week passed since humanity’s most powerful space telescope revealed the first full-color photos of the Universe. A whole world was waiting for that glorious moment, and it was sure worth it! We’ve seen images containing Stephan’s Quintet, the SMACS 0723 cluster, the Carina Nebula, the Southern Ring Nebula, and also WASP-96b.

But James Webb is far from being done with providing amazing photos to the world! The telescope has also captured outstanding images of the NGC 628 galaxy, which is also known as the Phantom Galaxy or Messier 74. You’ll find out immediately why the galaxy is being compared to a phantom:

Located roughly 32 million light-years away from Earth and in the equatorial constellation Pisces, Messier 74 is also an old galaxy. It formed about 13.12 billion years ago, which means less than 1 billion years after the Big Bang. We’re also talking about a spiral galaxy.

French astronomer Pierre Méchain first discovered the Phantom Galaxy back in 1780. Charles Messier, another French astronomer, then listed the galaxy in his catalog.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope also recently showed a new photo of Jupiter more than a week ago. The commissioning report at that time stated:

Observing a bright planet and its satellites and rings was expected to be challenging, due to scattered light that may affect the science instrument employed, but also the fine guidance sensor must track guide stars near the bright planet,

These observations verified the expectation that guide star acquisition works successfully as long as Jupiter is at least 140″ away from the FGS, consistent with pre-flight modeling.

Astronomers and the whole scientific community hope to learn a lot more about the Universe than ever before through the observations of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The future already sounds pretty good! 


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Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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