Thanks to its powerful infrared cameras, the space telescope provides a clear view of star formation and cosmic chaos.
Until now, the Cartwheel Galaxy is shrouded in mystery, but thanks to its infrared cameras, the James Webb Space Telescope has been able to peer behind a dust curtain for the first time and reveal new details.
The Chariot Wheel galaxy is about 500 light-years away in the constellation Sculptor. It was once a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way. But the collision of a galaxy with a smaller galaxy changed its shape.
The galaxy is dominated by two rings, a bright inner ring and a colorful outer ring. Like ripples in a pond into which a stone has been thrown, they move away from the center – so astronomers talk about a ring galaxy.
The inner ring consists of a huge amount of hot dust, and the brightest points show huge clusters of young stars. In the outer ring, which has been expanding for 440 million years, new stars are born and old stars die. Between the rings, helical, wheel-like speakers form the galaxy’s skeleton.
Ring galaxies are rare because it is not often that a galaxy reaches the center of a larger galaxy.
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