There is a wheel-shaped galaxy that formed in a long-ago crash, and the star formation can be seen through the dust and gas of the space telescope.
The Hubble Space Telescope studied the Cartwheel for its resemblance to a wheel of an old fashioned carriage, but it has since revealed a lot of previously unseen details.
The James Webb Space Telescope is able to peer into areas of space that are obscured by optical telescopes by using the heat of the sun. Individual stars within the star-forming regions in the outer ring of the Cartwheel galaxy and clusters of very young stars around the central black hole were revealed in the new images.
The James Webb Space Telescope has its first photos in the gallery.
Astronomers call the Cartwheel a ring galaxy because it is 500 million light-years away from Earth. The Cartwheel is thought to be a spiral galaxy like ours. About 700 to 800 million light years ago, it collided with a smaller galaxy.
Astronomers can see that the crash formed two ring-like structures, one around the center of the universe and the other framing the whole universe. The two rings are like "ripples in a pond" according to the Space Telescope Science Institute.
As the outer ring expands, it pushes the dust and gas that surrounds the galaxy out to the stars. The areas where new stars are being born look like small blue dots in the image and are scattered throughout the galaxy, but especially in the outer ring.
The spokes connecting the inner and outer ring are formed by silicate and hydrocarbons. The spokes can be seen in earlier Hubble images, but the new observations make them more clear.
As a result of the past crash, the Cartwheel galaxy is still evolving, and new observations will give insight into its past and future.
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