Home Electromagnetic The Webb Telescope shows us the heart of a ‘ghost galaxy’ in a way Hubble never could

The Webb Telescope shows us the heart of a ‘ghost galaxy’ in a way Hubble never could


The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has captured a breathtaking view at the heart of the vast phantom galaxy – officially known as M74 – which lies 32 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Pisces.

This latest work of cosmic art from JWST is a perfect example of how data captured by multiple orbiting telescopes designed to observe different wavelengths of light can be combined to create a more complete and dramatic view of an astronomical object. .

The new JWST imagery was captured using the telescope’s Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), which is designed to observe light that exists in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Scientists combine data from Hubble and Webb telescopes to create stunning view of ghost galaxy

Ordinarily, our human eyes would be unable to perceive this type of light. However, astronomers are able to take the raw infrared data collected by telescopes and instruments like MIRI and assign it colors that we can understand.

This is useful, because galaxies such as M74 are saturated with huge clouds of interstellar dust and gas that prevent telescopes that observe the sky in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum from seeing its underlying structure.

Fortunately, infrared telescopes such as the JWST are able to look beyond this layer of obscuration to observe what lies below, to provide a more complete view of the universe.

In the case of the phantom galaxy, Webb’s powerful infrared eyes revealed an ethereal view of the filaments of dust and gas that lie within the well-defined spiral arms of M74, and a clear central region that harbors a dense cluster of bodies. stellar.

Previous observations made by the Hubble Space Telescope have meanwhile shown the galaxy in the ultraviolet and visible parts of the light spectrum. The Hubble data highlighted a central population of old red stars and the locations of younger bluish stellar bodies that dot the spiral arms.