Astronomers now have a close-up look of the unusual ring galaxy known as the Cartwheel Galaxy, which was created when a massive spiral galaxy and a smaller neighbouring galaxy collided. Images were taken by the high-precision sensors on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The images, which were taken by the telescope’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and Mid-Infrared Instrument
(MIRI), are sharp enough to show the individual stars strewn throughout the stunning structure of the galaxy. The images’ blue dots represent individual stars or regions of star formation, while the images’ red dots represent hydrocarbon-rich regions. The JWST’s capacity to detect infrared light has now revealed fresh details about the structure and life cycle of the Cartwheel Galaxy, which was previously photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.
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The Sculptor constellation contains the galaxy, which is around 500 million light-years away from Earth. A massive spiral galaxy and a smaller galaxy that is not visible in this image are believed to have collided quite energetically, giving the object its wheel-like form.
It has two distinct rings: an outer ring that is more colourful and has a brighter inner ring. Similar to how a stone thrown into a pond may cause ripples, both rings are growing apart from the point of collision. A black hole sits at its core. The newborn star clusters and rampaging clouds of hot material are strewn throughout the brilliant core.
As the outer ring collides with the surrounding pockets of gas, which it has been doing for around 440 million years, new stars are created. According to the experts, the Cartwheel Galaxy is presently undergoing significant alteration and that additional research on this enigmatic cosmic object will shed light on its genesis, lifetime, and future.