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The James Webb Telescope captures 'the wheel of a galactic car' and draws attention for its curious appearance

The James Webb Telescope captures ‘the wheel of a galactic car’ and draws attention for its curious appearance

The system is located about 500 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation Sculptor, and acquired its shape after a direct collision between two galaxies.

Space Telescope Science Institute/NASA/AFPThe wheel of the cart and its accompanying galaxies reveal details that are difficult to see in single images alone

The NASA, jointly with the space agencies of the United States, Europe and the European Space Agency, released this Tuesday, 2, another image by the James Webb Space Telescope, which captured the “Car Wheel” galaxy, trapped about 500 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation Sculptor, which acquired its shape after a direct collision between two galaxies. NASA and the European Space Agency said in a joint statement that the collision caused two rings to expand from the center of the galaxy “like ripples in the water of a tank after a stone was thrown into it.” In the middle is a smaller white ring, while the outer ring has expanded with its colorful rays across the universe over the course of 440 million years, the observation adds. As it expands outward, it collides with gas, causing new stars to form. Behind the wheel of the wagon, two more small galaxies shine, and behind them more structures can be seen. Studies from the image show that the Car Wheel Galaxy is still in a “very transitional phase,” according to the space agencies. What happened to this galaxy in the past and how it will evolve.

This is not the first time an image of this system has been released. The Hubble telescope has already captured images of this rare ring galaxy, which may have been spiral like the Milky Way before it was bumped into by a smaller galaxy. However, this is the first time we can see with unprecedented clarity, as the Webb telescope, which was launched in December 2021, has a greater range for image acquisition. NASA and the European Space Agency said Webb’s ability to detect infrared light allowed him to pass through a “massive amount of hot dust” that obscured the cartwheel’s view of the galaxy. In this way, the telescope revealed new details about the formation of stars in the galaxy, as well as the behavior of the supermassive black hole in its core, space agencies added. It was also possible to detect areas rich in hydrocarbons and other chemicals, as well as Earth-like dust. In mid-July, it was NASA has released the first images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.

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*With information from Agence France-Presse