The spiral galaxy has been photographed by the Webb telescope in “unprecedented detail”.

The spiral galaxy has been photographed by the Webb telescope in "unprecedented detail".
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A new image released by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope shows a dazzling spiral galaxy 29 million light-years from Earth in “unprecedented detail.”

The the “bones” of the galaxyusually hidden by dust, it is on full display.

The galaxy, called IC 5332, stretches about 66,000 light-years across, making it about one-third the size of our home galaxy, the Milky Way.

IC 5332 “is remarkable for being almost perfectly face-on to Earth, allowing us to admire the symmetrical sweep of its spiral arms.” press release From the European Space Agency.

To capture the image, the Webb telescope used its Mid-Infrared Instrument, or MIRI, one of the observatory’s four powerful instruments for probing space.

MIRI is the only Webb instrument sensitive to light in the mid-infrared wavelengths, the type of wavelength that can only be observed by telescopes. outside Earth’s atmosphere. (Infrared is the term scientists use to refer to light with longer wavelengths than humans can detect with the naked eye.)

The Hubble Space Telescope previously observed the galaxy in ultraviolet and visible light using Wide Field Camera 3.

“The Hubble image shows the dark regions that separate the spiral arms, while the Webb image shows continuous tangles of structure that reflect the shape of the spiral arms,” ​​he said. The images reveal different stars depending on each telescope’s detectable wavelengths.

The difference in the side-by-side comparison of the images is due to the dusty regions of the galaxy. Ultraviolet and visible light can be scattered by interstellar dust, so dust-heavy regions appear darker in Hubble’s view.

Webb’s ability to detect infrared light can penetrate interstellar dust. Together, these two views of the same galaxy reveal more about its composition and structure.

All of Webb’s tools must be kept extremely cold to work, as even slightly warm objects can work they emit their own infrared light and distorts the image. The MIRI device is kept at its coldest temperature of minus 447 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 266 degrees Celsius) — just 7 degrees warmer than absolute zero. (Absolute zero is the lowest possible temperature on the thermodynamic scale).

Meanwhile, Webb’s team is evaluating a problem with one of MIRI’s four observing modes.

“On August 24, a mechanism supporting one of these modes, known as moderate resolution spectroscopy (MRS), demonstrated what appeared to be increased friction during a scientific observation setup. This mechanism is a grating wheel that allows scientists to select between short, medium and longer wavelengths when making observations using the MRS mode.” A weblog run by NASA.

Observations in this mode were discontinued by Webb’s team as they set a path forward. Otherwise, Webb, its instruments, and MIRI’s other three observing modes are fine.

Webb is managed by NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency. $10 billion space observatory, was launched last Decemberenough fuel to keep taking fantastic pictures for about 20 years.

Compared to other telescopes, the space observatory’s giant mirror can see faint, distant galaxies and has the potential to enhance our understanding of the origins of the universe.

add Webb’s first images released in July, they highlighted the observatory’s ability to reveal previously unseen aspects of the cosmos, such as dust-covered star births.

However, it also uses stable and accurate image quality to illuminate our own solar system, and so far mars, Jupiter and neptune.

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