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NASA, ESA release new images of Phantom Galaxy

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New images jointly published by NASA and the European Space Agency show the inner workings of Phantom Galaxy, M74. Photo by NASA
New images jointly published by NASA and the European Space Agency show the inner workings of Phantom Galaxy, M74. Photo by NASA

Aug. 30 (UPI) -- New images jointly published by NASA and the European Space Agency show the inner workings of Phantom Galaxy, M74.

The images were published on Monday and produced using both the James Webb Space Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope to "complement each other to provide a comprehensive view of the galaxy," the agencies said in a statement.

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The Phantom Galaxy, located in the constellation Pisces, is roughly 32 million light-years away from Earth and is nearly a direct line -- or face-on -- to Earth.

The galaxy's proximity and placement along with its well-defined spiral arms, make it a favorite target for astronomers studying galactic spirals.

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The M74 Phantom is a type of spiral galaxy known as a grand design spiral, meaning its spiral arms are prominent and well-defined, which differs greatly from the often ragged and ragged structure seen in some spiral galaxies.

"Webb's sharp vision has revealed delicate filaments of gas and dust in the grandiose spiral arms of M74, which wind outwards from the centre of the image," ESA researchers said in a press release.

"A lack of gas in the nuclear region also provides an unobscured view of the nuclear star cluster at the galaxy's center," the researchers said.

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The addition of the Webb telescope's "crystal-clear" observations using its Mid-InfraRed Instrument to existing data from the Hubble "will allow 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."

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The edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region, NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, this image, released on July 12, 2022, reveals previously obscured areas of star birth. Photo courtesy of NASA | License Photo

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