Détail de la galaxie de la Roue du Chariot photographiée par James-Webb. © Nasa, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team

Stunning Images of the Chariot Wheel Galaxy Revisited by the James Webb Telescope


Another masterstroke for James-Webb with this composite image of a surprising wheel-shaped galaxy. The penetrating view of the powerful space telescope shows never-before-seen details of this galaxy which collided about 400 million years ago. What do they show us?

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The picture of the chariot wheel galaxy taken by Hubble in 2007 and revisited in 2018 amazed us all by the beauty and complexity of this galaxy annular shape deformed by a violent collision. Observations in the visible and theultraviolet by the famous space telescope entertained the astronomers for the details of its outer crown, set ablaze by the birth of a multitude of stars, the active central region and the spokes of its wheel, curved in a spiral, which resisted the shock.

This time, the different vision of James Webbin the infrared, offers in-depth knowledge of this interacting galaxy located 500 million light-years from Earth. We thus discover, not without fascination and vertigo, what the researchers did not see before, or only badly: the skeleton of dust and gas of IT IS 350-40 (his real name), as well as the effervescence of his black hole central.

A very active galaxy

In the distant past, this so-called Chariot Wheel galaxy resembled our own, the Milky Waysporting a spiral shape like a whirlwinduntil interactions with other members of his galactic group led him to a high-speed collision speed with a galaxy, here located out of frame. That was about 400 million years ago, and now we admire and study what resulted from that, the evolution, the changes in its morphology and the population of stars under the influence of shock waves on the clouds of dust. The two concentric rings are like the waves created on the surface of the water after the throwing of a pebble. The vague the largest forms a sparkling crown of young stars whose matrixes were fertilized by the violent compression of the matter. The spectacle is even more vivid within the inner ring and at the very heart of the galaxy, visibly in full boiling, as shown by the James-Webb’s piercing view which reveals clusters of stars once hidden by thick veils of dust.

The composite image that combines the observations of Miri and Nircam also allow you to see fine details of neighboring galaxies and to flush out a multitude of other galaxies, scattered in the background over billions of light years. A dazzling spectacle, “and this is still only the beginning”.

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