James Webb telescope captures a distant galaxy just like the Milky Way
A recent photo from James Webb Space Telescope reminds us just how vast the space is and how much there still is to explore. European Space Agency used the telescope to capture a distant portion of the sky, containing a crowded field of galaxies with one looking just like ours!
[Related reading: James Webb Telescope captures distant planet outside our solar system]
The Milky Way’s doppelganger is a large spiral galaxy at the bottom of this image. It’s named LEDA 2046648 and it’s located a little over a billion light-years from Earth in the constellation Hercules. What you see around it are smaller, more distant galaxies.
This particular image was taken merely for calibration purposes. It was a part of the commissioning campaign for Webb’s Near-InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS). But it doesn’0t make it any less impressive. In fact, it was even proclaimed the picture of the month.
“One of Webb’s principle science goals is to observe distant galaxies in the early universe to understand the details of their formation, evolution, and composition,” ESA writes. “Webb’s keen infrared vision helps the telescope peer back in time, as the light from these distant galaxies is redshifted towards infrared wavelengths.”
The scientists compare these distant galaxies with those in the local universe, which help them understand how galaxies grew to form the structure we see today. Thanks to Webb, they can also examine the chemical composition of thousands of galaxies, which can tell us more about how heavy elements were formed and built up as galaxies evolved.
[via Engadget; image credits: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, A. Martel]
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.