NASA’s $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has provided an even deeper look into the cosmos, revealing the clearest view of the Phantom Galaxy, more formally known as M74, located around 32 million light-years away from Earth.
“Webb’s sharp vision has revealed delicate filaments of gas and dust in the grandiose spiral arms of M74, which wind outwards from the center of the image. A lack of gas in the nuclear region also provides an unobscured view of the nuclear star cluster at the galaxy’s center,” NASA and the ESA wrote in a statement.
Combining data from the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based observatories, both space agencies pieced together a crystal-clear view of the Phantom Galaxy.
The Phantom Galaxy has been a significant focus for astronomers studying the origin and structure of galactic spirals. The new spacecraft with infrared technology allows astronomers “to pinpoint star-forming regions in the galaxies, accurately measure the masses and ages of star clusters, and gain insights into the nature of the small grains of dust drifting in interstellar space,” NASA and ESA said.
“Now we have a broader (and even more beautiful!) understanding of the galaxy M74!
“These Hubble and NASAWebb views show the power of observing in different wavelengths. Hubble’s optical vision highlights older stars near the center and younger, bluer stars in the spiral arms,” NASA tweeted this week.
In July, NASA released the first images of JWST’s findings since the spacecraft was launched into deep space last December. Though still operational, JWST has already been struck by tiny meteoroids, causing significant uncorrectable damage to the craft’s infrared technology.