‘Truly spectacular’: NASA’s James Webb telescope captures purple spiral galaxy
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope captured a stunning image of a purple spiral galaxy.
According to British newspaper The Independent, an astronomer at the Cosmic Dawn Center in the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, Gabriel Brammer, shared the photo on Twitter.
The image showed the dusty skeleton of the distant galaxy NGC 628, taken on Sunday.
“This is a galaxy that probably looks a lot like what we think our own Milky Way looks like,” Brammer told the Independent.
“You can see all these knots of individual stars forming, individual supernovae have gone off and really study that in detail.”
The spiral galaxy was imaged before by the Hubble Space Telescope but it did not look anything like the purple spiral structure seen in the James Webb telescope’s mid-infrared image.
“You look at this galaxy with Hubble or with ground based telescopes… you see blue stars, you see red stars, you see spiral arms, you see dust lanes,” Brammer said, adding that the reddish-brown filaments in the spiral arms tend to block stars in the visible images taken by Webb and other telescopes.
“In the mid-infrared, what you’re actually kind of seeing is the inverse of that, where that dust is no longer absorbing; we’re actually observing directly that dust itself that’s now glowing, because the dust itself is emitting,” he said.
“We’re actually seeing an image of the gas and the dust in this galaxy, rather than the stars.”
The image is in the Barbara Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST) which is available to the public.
“We’ve been waiting for Webb for in some cases for decades now and we’ve all been, not sleeping very much for the last week looking and kind of looking at as many different Webb images we can,” Brammer said. “It’s all just truly spectacular.”
The first image from the $10 billion telescope was unveiled by the White House on July 11, showing stars and massive galaxies and offering the world’s deepest-ever glimpse into the edge of the universe.