James Webb Telescope Shows Us the Heart of A ‘Phantom Galaxy’

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has taken a stunning picture of the Phantom Galaxy, which is officially called M74 and is 32 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Pisces.

This latest piece of art from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) shows how data from multiple orbiting telescopes that are designed to look at different wavelengths of light can be combined to make a more complete and spectacular picture of an astronomical object. The new JWST images were taken with the telescope’s Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), which is made to look at the light in the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Scientists use information from the Hubble and Webb telescopes to make a stunning picture of the Phantom Galaxy.

Normally, our eyes wouldn’t be able to see this type of light. But astronomers can take the raw infrared data that telescopes and instruments like MIRI collect and give it colors that we can understand. This is helpful because galaxies like M74 are full of huge clouds of dust and gas between the stars. These clouds block telescopes that look at the sky in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum from seeing the galaxy’s structure.

'Phantom Galaxy'
‘Phantom Galaxy’

Infrared telescopes like the JWST, however, can see through this layer and see what’s below it, giving us a clearer picture of the universe as a whole.

In the case of the Phantom Galaxy, Webb’s powerful infrared eyes showed an ethereal view of the dust and gas filaments that lie within M74’s well-defined spiral arms, as well as a clear central region that is home to a dense cluster of star bodies.

When the Hubble Space Telescope looked at the galaxy before, it could see it in the ultraviolet and visible parts of the light spectrum. The Hubble data showed that there was a group of old, red stars in the center and that the spiral arms were filled with younger, bluer stars.

Pictures of the James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Telescope Shows Us the Heart of A ‘Phantom Galaxy’

There were red gasseus regions all over the structure. These were places where there were a lot of new stars being made and the light coming from the strong young stars made the clouds around their glow.

Scientists were able to make a really amazing picture of the Phantom galaxy by putting together data from both Webb and Hubble. Here, JWST data has been colored red to show where a lot of dust is woven into the structure of the galaxy and orange to show where matter is hotter. Young stellar bodies are shown in blue, while their older relatives are shown in shades of cyan and green.

Astronomers will use the new Webb data to try to learn more about how stars formed in the early universe and to figure out how old and heavy old star clusters are.

Stay tuned for more updates, Nog Magazine.