[Epoch Times, September 28, 2022](Epoch Times reporter Li Yan comprehensive report) In a new image released by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (James Webb Space Telescope), a person is 2,900 meters away from Earth. Dazzling spiral galaxies 10,000 light-years old have been recreated in a “skeletal” image with unprecedented clarity.
Called IC 5332, the galaxy is about 66,000 light-years across, about a third smaller than Earth’s own Milky Way. The “skeleton” of the galaxy, usually obscured by dust, is now fully and clearly displayed.
According to a press release from the European Space Agency (ESA, also known as the European Space Agency), IC 5332 “remarkably lies almost completely face-to-face with Earth, allowing us to appreciate the symmetrical strafing of its spiral arms”.
To take this image, Webb used its mid-infrared instrument, MIRI, one of the observatory’s four powerful tools for exploring the universe, according to the release.
The Hubble Space Telescope previously observed the galaxy in ultraviolet and visible light using its Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).
According to the press release, “The Hubble image shows dark areas that appear to separate the spiral arms, while the Webb image shows more structure that continues to tangle that echoes the shape of the spiral arms.”
Different stars are shown in these images, depending on the wavelengths detectable by each telescope.
The difference between the two images is due to the galaxy’s dusty regions. Ultraviolet and visible light is scattered by interstellar dust. So in the Hubble view, the dusty regions appear darker.
Webb’s infrared light detection capabilities can penetrate interstellar dust, revealing more structures in the same galaxy.
To function properly, all of Webb’s instruments must be kept extremely cold, because objects that are only slightly warm emit their own infrared light, distorting the image.
Hubble cannot observe the mid-infrared region because its mirrors are not cold enough. Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) can stay as cold as -447 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 266 degrees Celsius).
Webb is operated by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Launched last December, the $10 billion space observatory has enough fuel to keep taking brilliant images for about 20 years.
Compared to other telescopes, the space observatory’s giant mirrors can see faint, distant galaxies. So far, Webb has taken images of Mars, Jupiter and Neptune.
Responsible editor: Li Yuan#