Webb Telescope Captures Striking ‘Cartwheel’ Galaxy

New images give scientists more information about the galaxy’s changes over the course of billions of years.

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Like the universe itself, NASA keeps expanding its knowledge of outer space.

In the latest James Webb Space Telescope discovery, astronomers acquired new glimpses of the so-called “Cartwheel Galaxy.” The images give scientists more information about the galaxy’s changes over the course of billions of years.

NASA announced Tuesday that the new images offer more visual evidence of the “chaotic” Cartwheel Galaxy. That includes insights about star formation and black hole that is at the center of the galaxy.

What Is The Cartwheel Galaxy?

The Cartwheel Galaxy is not a new discovery. In fact, the Hubble Space Telescope previously caught glimpses of it, NASA said.

But thanks to the Webb Telescope, which can detect infrared light, astronomers now possess much more knowledge into the nature of the galaxy.

“The Cartwheel Galaxy, [which is] located about 500 million light-years away in the Sculptor constellation, is a rare sight,” NASA said in a statement. “Its appearance, much like that of the wheel of a wagon, is the result of an intense event – a high-speed collision between a large spiral galaxy and a smaller galaxy not visible in this image.”

NASA added: “Collisions of galactic proportions cause a cascade of different, smaller events between the galaxies involved; the Cartwheel is no exception.”

The collisions affected the shape and structure of the Cartwheel Galaxy, NASA added.

The statement further noted that the Cartwheel Galaxy has a bright inner ring and a colorful one that surrounds the galaxy. The outer ring started expanding roughly 440 million years ago. As it continues to do so, leads to the formation of stars, according to NASA.

“These two rings expand outwards from the center of the collision,” the statement said. “Because of these distinctive features, astronomers call this a ‘ring galaxy,’ a structure less common than spiral galaxies like our Milky Way.”

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