The peculiar shape of the “Car Wheel Galaxy” is attracting attention, and now scientists have more information about the star cluster. New images released this Tuesday (2) by NASA, the United States aerospace agency, show the changes that have taken place in the galaxy over billions of years and indicate what it will look like in the future. This is yet another unprecedented space telescope record. James Webb.
The images indicate that the “Galaxy Wheel by Car” is in a process of transition. Once a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way, it emerged from a high-speed collision with a smaller one, which transformed its shapes and structures. It now sports two rings that extend outward from the collision center and a black hole, and it should continue to change.
About 500 million light-years from Earth, the “Wheel of the Chariot” is located in the constellation of the Sculptor and receives from astronomers the definition of an annular galaxy, less common than spirals. At its center is a lot of hot dust, and in the brightest areas of the image are clusters of young stars. In the outer ring, new stars form as it expands.
Until now, the large amount of dust has made it difficult to see details of the galaxy. Therefore, records such as those made by the Hubble Telescope could not be analyzed further. The differential for the James Webb Space Telescope, launched late last year and part of an international program led by NASA in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency, is its ability to detect infrared light. With equipment called the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam), it is possible to see more stars, which are not so hidden by space dust.
For specialists, the dissemination of the images captured by James Webb ushers in a new era of astronomy and shows the potential of the observatory to help answer some of the mysteries of physics and biology, in addition to encouraging new other large-scale missions.
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