the space telescope james webb continues to prove its power, and now it was the turn of a revealing image of the Cartwheel galaxy, revealing new details about star formation and the galaxy’s central black hole.
This image of the Cartwheel and its companion galaxies is a composite of the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) from Webb, which reveals details that are difficult to see in individual images alone.
Amidst the red swirls of dust are many individual blue dots, representing individual stars or pockets of star formation. NIRCam also defines the difference between populations of older stars and dense dust in the core and populations of younger stars outside of it.
This galaxy was formed as a result of a high-speed collision that occurred about 400 million years ago. The Chariot Wheel is made up of two rings, a bright inner ring and a colorful outer ring. Both rings expand outward from the center of the collision like shock waves.
Webb’s observations underscore that the Cartwheel is in a very transitory stage. The galaxy, which was presumably a normal spiral galaxy like the Milky Way before its collision, will continue to transform.