M74, or the Phantom Galaxy, lies about 32 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Pisces.
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The James Webb Space Telescope continues to show us the universe as we’ve never seen it before. Launched into space at the end of 2021 and operational since July, it has captured new details of a galaxy, M74, also called the Phantom galaxy. Its bright blue heart and impeccable spiral were observed by the Miri instrument, the result of a collaboration between Europeans and Americans, which studies the mid-infrared. The result is a spectacular image published on Monday August 29 by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.
“Webb’s piercing gaze revealed fine filaments of gas and dust in the luminous spiral-shaped arms that fan out from the center of this image”notes the ESA on its website (link in English)which specifies that the galaxy had already been observed by the legendary Hubble space telescope, launched in 1990 and still in operation.
Feast your eyes on the beautiful spiral structure of the Phantom Galaxy, M74, as seen by Webb in the mid-infrared. Delicate filaments of dust and gas wind outwards from the center of the galaxy, which has a ring of star formation around its nucleus. https://t.co/pPVvxsC6KA pic.twitter.com/JQ2C9Wf19f
—NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) August 30, 2022
The European agency also notes that a “lack of gas” provides a clearer view of the stars in the center of this galaxy, located about 32 million light-years away in the constellation Pisces.
The data collected “will allow astronomers to identify regions of the galaxy where stars are forming, accurately measure the mass and age of star clusters, and better understand the nature of small dust grains drifting through interstellar space. “further notes the ESA.
An engineering gem worth $10 billion, the James Webb Telescope conducts its observations 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. Thursday, August 25, researchers announced that it had detected, for the first time, the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere of an exoplanet, that is to say a planet outside our solar system.