The James Webb telescope reveals a terrifying galactic whirlpool – Teach Me About Science

Webb captures stunning view of galaxy NGC 628. (Gabriel Brammer / Janice Lee et al. and the PHANGS-JWST collaboration).

Wow! It is beautifully terrifying.

On July 12, NASA surprised the whole world when it revealed the first scientific images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), we agree and are happy about that. However, the day of observations was just beginning, now Webb has his eyes firmly set on the Universe.

In recent days, James Webb took an almost casual look at the spiral galaxy NGC 628, revealing its structure as an intimidating whirlpool. It’s an extraordinary image of the center of the spiral galaxy taken by the James Webb Space Telescope that, beyond its appearance, could reveal important clues about how dust behaves in galaxies.

Webb observed the galaxy NGC 628 on Sunday, July 17, and beamed it back to Earth; she was registered in the MAST (Barbara Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes), where the data is available to everyone, and also to the general public.

According to NewScientist, the image below is a composite of three data sets at different wavelengths taken by the JWST Mid-Infrared Instrument team. Gabriel Brammer, an astronomer at the Cosmic Dawn Center at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, downloaded the data and translated each of the infrared wavelengths to red, green and blue before combining them to produce a single image.

Mid-infrared image of the center of the galaxy NGC 628, based on data taken by the James Webb Space Telescope on July 17. (Gabriel Brammer/Janice Lee et al. and the PHANGS-JWST collaboration).

“This is a galaxy that probably looks a lot like what we think our own Milky Way is like,” Dr. Brammer said in an interview for the Independent. “You can see all these knots of individual stars that form, individual supernovae have gone off, and you really study that in detail.”

“Let’s see what the JWST observed yesterday… Oh my gosh,” Brammer wrote in a tweet.

“In the mid-infrared, what you actually see is the opposite of that, where that dust is no longer absorbed; actually, we directly observe that dust that is now glowing, because the dust itself is what emits, ”explained Brammer. “We actually see an image of the gas and dust in this galaxy, rather than the stars.”

What do we know about NGC 628?

Messier 74, also called NGC 628, lies approximately 32 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Pisces the Fish. It is the dominant member of a small group of about half a dozen galaxies, the M74 galaxy group. It is estimated that it hosts around 100 billion stars, half of what our Milky Way has.

See this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the nearby spiral galaxy M74, or NGC 628. Bright knots of glowing gas illuminate the spiral arms, indicating a rich star-forming environment.

(Image credit: NASA, ESA and Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration).

According to NASA, M74 is a grand design spiral galaxy that Earth observers see almost head-on. Its perfectly symmetrical spiral arms emanate from the central core and are dotted with young blue star clusters and bright pink regions of ionized hydrogen (hydrogen atoms that have lost their electrons).

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