The bright Cartwheel Galaxy, located over 500 million light-years away, has been captured in images by the potent James Webb Space Telescope

The bright Cartwheel Galaxy, located over 500 million light-years away, has been captured in spectacular images by the potent James Webb Space Telescope of the next generation. Using its powerful infrared cameras, Webb captured an extensive view of the Cartwheel and two smaller partner galaxies against a background of several other galaxies. About 500 million light-years away in the Sculptor constellation, there is a unique object that resembles a wagon wheel called the Cartwheel Galaxy.

James Webb Space Telescope

 

It is believed that two galaxies collided head-on, giving rise to the shape of the Cartwheel galaxy. According to NASA’s official release, the impact that caused the two rings to visibly expand from the galaxy’s center is “like ripples in water after a stone is thrown into it.” Due to this characteristic, many astronomers believe that this object is a ring galaxy rather than the more typical spiral galaxies found in the Milky Way.

In the brightest areas of the core, which also contain a tremendous quantity of heated material, gigantic nascent star clusters can be spotted. On the opposite side, the outer ring, which has been expanding for almost 440 million years, is dominated by star formation and supernovae. As the ring expands, it collides with the surrounding gas and births stars. The image’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) data has the colors blue, orange, and yellow.

Cartwheel Galaxy

 

The galaxy’s many blue spots are either individual stars or places where stars are forming. As demonstrated by NIRCam, the older star populations and dense dust in the core have a smooth distribution or form in contrast to the clumpy shapes associated with the younger star populations outside of it. The MIRI data, which is represented in the composite image as red, reveals regions of the Cartwheel Galaxy that are abundant in silicate dust, which is identical to much of the dust on Earth, as well as hydrocarbons and other chemical components.