NASA’s technology is now so advanced that astronomers are identifying phantoms in space.
Well, sort of.
On Tuesday, the agency released a new collection of hypnotic, never-before-seen glimpses into the so-called “Phantom Galaxy.” Located in the Pisces constellation, the galaxy is roughly 32 million light-years from Earth.
The European Space Agency (ESA) published comments about the new images on its website on Tuesday.
“This, coupled with its well-defined spiral arms, makes it a favourite target for astronomers studying the origin and structure of galactic spirals,” ESA said.
The Phantom Galaxy, formally known as M74, is known as a “grand design spiral,” according to ESA.
That term implies that “its spiral arms are prominent and well-defined, unlike the patchy and ragged structure seen in some spiral galaxies,” per ESA.
NASA Teams With Other Countries’ Space Programs
Capturing the images and analyzing them was a team effort. NASA, ESA, and the Canadian Space Agency combined data from the James Webb and Hubble Space Telescopes.
For its own part, NASA on Tuesday posted images of the Phantom Galaxy on Instagram. The agency also shared a primer explaining it — and its enthusiasm for the project.
“The hypnotizing swirls of the Phantom Galaxy are magnificent in any light!” the post said. “With two space telescopes’ powers combined, we can get a more complete view of the universe. While @NASAHubble’s previously revealed bright areas of star formation in visible and ultraviolet wavelengths, Webb’s infrared vision is helping to pinpoint these regions, accurately measure the masses and ages of star clusters, and gain insight into interstellar dust.”
NASA is drawing more attention than usual lately thanks to the Webb Telescope. Less than a month ago, astronomers acquired new glimpses of the so-called “Cartwheel Galaxy.”
The images gave scientists more information about the galaxy’s changes over the course of billions of years.