Webb Space Telescope Reveals “Mind-Blowing” Structure in 19 Nearby Spiral Galaxies

Webb’s Stunning Collection of 19 Face-On Spiral Galaxies

This collection of 19 face-on spiral galaxies from the James Webb Space Telescope in near- and mid-infrared light is at once overwhelming and awe-inspiring. “Webb’s new images are extraordinary,” said Janice Lee, a project scientist for strategic initiatives at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. “They’re mind-blowing even for researchers who have studied these same galaxies for decades. Bubbles and filaments are resolved down to the smallest scales ever observed, and tell a story about the star formation cycle.” Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Janice Lee (STScI), Thomas Williams (Oxford), PHANGS Team, Elizabeth Wheatley (STScI)

A new treasure trove of Webb images has arrived! Near- and mid-infrared images show off every facet of these face-on spiral galaxies.

Humanity has spent centuries mapping Earth’s features – and we frequently repeat the process by using more advanced instruments. When we combine the data, we get a more complete understanding of our planet.

Now, look outward into space. Astronomers have observed nearby, face-on spiral galaxies for decades. Both space- and ground-based telescopes have contributed to a cache of data in wavelengths from radio to ultraviolet light. Astronomers have long planned to use NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to obtain the highest resolution near- and mid-infrared images ever taken of these galaxies, and today they are publicly available.

Everyone can explore Webb’s newest set of exquisite images, which show stars, gas, and dust on small scales beyond our own galaxy. Teams of researchers are studying these images to uncover the origins of these intricate structures. The research community’s collective analysis will ultimately inform theorists’ simulations, and advance our understanding of star formation and the evolution of spiral galaxies.

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 628

James Webb Space Telescope’s observation of Face-on spiral galaxy, NGC 628. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Janice Lee (STScI), Thomas Williams (Oxford), PHANGS Team

Webb Space Telescope Depicts Staggering Structure in 19 Nearby Spiral Galaxies

It’s oh-so-easy to be absolutely mesmerized by these spiral galaxies. Follow their clearly defined arms, which are brimming with stars, to their centers, where there may be old star clusters and – sometimes – active supermassive black holes. Only NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope can deliver highly detailed scenes of nearby galaxies in a combination of near- and mid-infrared light – and a set of these images was publicly released today.

These Webb images are part of a large, long-standing project, the Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby GalaxieS (PHANGS) program, which is supported by more than 150 astronomers worldwide. Before Webb took these images, PHANGS was already brimming with data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, the Very Large Telescope’s Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, including observations in ultraviolet, visible, and radio light. Webb’s near- and mid-infrared contributions have provided several new puzzle pieces.

“Webb’s new images are extraordinary,” said Janice Lee, a project scientist for strategic initiatives at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. “They’re mind-blowing even for researchers who have studied these same galaxies for decades. Bubbles and filaments are resolved down to the smallest scales ever observed, and tell a story about the star formation cycle.”

Excitement rapidly spread throughout the team as the Webb images flooded in. “I feel like our team lives in a constant state of being overwhelmed – in a positive way – by the amount of detail in these images,” added Thomas Williams, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Follow the Spiral Arms

Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) captured millions of stars in these images, which sparkle in blue tones. Some stars are spread throughout the spiral arms, but others are clumped tightly together in star clusters.

The telescope’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument) data highlights glowing dust, showing us where it exists around and between stars. It also spotlights stars that haven’t yet fully formed – they are still encased in the gas and dust that feed their growth, like bright red seeds at the tips of dusty peaks. “These are where we can find the newest, most massive stars in the galaxies,” said Erik Rosolowsky, a professor of physics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

Something else that amazed astronomers? Webb’s images show large, spherical shells in the gas and dust. “These holes may have been created by one or more stars that exploded, carving out giant holes in the interstellar material,” explained Adam Leroy, a professor of astronomy at the Ohio State University in Columbus.

Now, trace the spiral arms to find extended regions of gas that appear red and orange. “These structures tend to follow the same pattern in certain parts of the galaxies,” Rosolowsky added. “We think of these like waves, and their spacing tells us a lot about how a galaxy distributes its gas and dust.” Study of these structures will provide key insights about how galaxies build, maintain, and shut off star formation.

Dive Into the Interior

Evidence shows that galaxies grow from inside out – star formation begins at galaxies’ cores and spreads along their arms, spiraling away from the center. The farther a star is from the galaxy’s core, the more likely it is to be younger. In contrast, the areas near the cores that look lit by a blue spotlight are populations of older stars.

What about galaxy cores that are awash in pink-and-red diffraction spikes? “That’s a clear sign that there may be an active supermassive black hole,” said Eva Schinnerer, a staff scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. “Or, the star clusters toward the center are so bright that they have saturated that area of the image.”

Research Galore

There are many avenues of research that scientists can begin to pursue with the combined PHANGS data, but the unprecedented number of stars Webb resolved are a great place to begin. “Stars can live for billions or trillions of years,” Leroy said. “By precisely cataloging all types of stars, we can build a more reliable, holistic view of their life cycles.”

In addition to immediately releasing these images, the PHANGS team has also released the largest catalog to date of roughly 100,000 star clusters. “The amount of analysis that can be done with these images is vastly larger than anything our team could possibly handle,” Rosolowsky emphasized. “We’re excited to support the community so all researchers can contribute.”

Don’t miss the images below: Webb’s images are split with those of the same galaxies taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

Webb Spiral Galaxy IC 5332

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy IC 5332

Hubble Spiral Galaxy IC 5332

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy IC 5332

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 628

Webb’s view of Galaxy NGC 628

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 628

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 628

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1087

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1087

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 1087

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1087

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1300

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1300

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 1300

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1300

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1365

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1365

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 1365

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1365

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1385

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1385

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 1385

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1385

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1433

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1433

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 1433

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1433

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1512

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1512

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 1512

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1512

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1566

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1566

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 1566

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1566

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1672

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1672

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 1672

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1672

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 2835

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 2835

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 2835

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 2835

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 3351

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 3351

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 3351

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 3351

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 3627

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 3627

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 3627

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 3627

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 4254

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 4254

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 4254

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 4254

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 4303

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 4303

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 4303

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 4303

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 4321

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 4321

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 4321

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 4321

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 4535

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 4535

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 4535

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 4535

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 5068

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 5068

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 5068

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 5068

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 7496

Webb’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 7496

Hubble Spiral Galaxy NGC 7496

Hubble’s view of Spiral Galaxy NGC 7496

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.

6 Comments on "Webb Space Telescope Reveals “Mind-Blowing” Structure in 19 Nearby Spiral Galaxies"

  1. Nice CGI from the fakoscope

  2. Excuse me, I had a friend who said that humans are stupid who research about black holes and distant galaxies and…. What is the use of this information for them and what will it be useful for, and why did they try so hard?

  3. I didn’t want to write these things, but the one whom God sent to me said to write that the word English means yes, English is English in the language and alphabet of the Lord of the world, which is Persian, and the wordsof those Lords become the word English.Yes, it is a parasite.In Latin and the last two letters of the word, the name of the country of parasites is English.In Persian and English, yes, it means yes, there is a parasite.The British country is two letters y and s.They named bad countries, well, it is clear that God chooses a word by focusing on people’s heads, for example, a country that is not righteous in the world, its politicians are like Russia, which is Russia before itself, the word Russia becomesPersian, the people who are Russia before God, that is, the name of the Soviet country It can be translated into Farsi, Россия, Россия, I am not white before God, the Syrians.In the future, I will reveal the secrets of God, I will reveal the world of the unseen and the secrets of the earthlings in the endless space like you are looking at this page.And your name and surname exist in the world of infinity, 100% because when there is infinity like the earth, everything becomes infinite.But I want to say that there are infinite galaxies, but whatever we humans know about galaxies, will the information of these galaxies be useful to us, no, it will never be useful, but I say, why don’t you come to earthto research advanced equipment in two thousand meters underground Oh, and there are many treasures left by humans a hundred million years ago.I got this information from God and I know about the history of the earthlings and the fate of the earthlings, and I know how the arm of the galaxy collided with the solar bodies during the hundreds of billions of years before until now.American scientists and researchers did not notice all these changes in the solar system.I know 100% that the arm of the galaxy has collided with solar bodies more than hundreds of times, and that some of the Earth’s civilizations, which had a history of hundreds of thousands of years, have been destroyed.For more information, go to the list below.Hossein Mofidi Far’s poems, refer to numbers 1, 13, 30 and 331

    • When I was reading Albert Einstein’s Astrophysics book, I got to know the structure of atoms.I was 17 years old at that time.In that book, it was explained that isotopes determine how many years an object lives, from the sputtering of the isotopes of different elements, you can understand how many years they stayed in the light with carbon.11. This sputtering process of isotopes can be determined, but I later found out that such an experiment is not effective for the surface of celestial bodies, because even though the solar bodies of the solar system are ten million years old, due to the impactof the stars and planets of the large planets of the galaxy on the objects of the sun and the impact of the planets on the sun for several hundred years.And several thousand meters of soil on the surface of the planets and solar bodies from the planets that exploded when they hit the sun, the fragments of the elements of the planets that came from the arm of the galaxy and exploded were placed in the orbit ofthe solar bodies and hit the surface of all the bodies of the solar system.The soil on the surface of the sun’s bodies cannot be understood for how many millions of years the layers below it had lived because every several million years the arms of the galaxy collided with the solar bodies, several layers of soil were shed on the planets andmoons in a few hundred million years and more than a few hundred For millions of years, we do not have access to those layers that were buried under dozens of kilometers of soil

  4. Galaxies are very, very strange and and amazing and beautiful, but I emphasize that galaxies and black holes will not be of any use to people, they are just a waste of time.And detecting the exact speed of the big arms of the galaxy is very important for us in the solar system and the event that is ahead, because the stars and the planets of the big arm of the galaxy have collided several times in tens of hundred percent.

  5. America’s scientists were created by God, who is the supreme energy and power, and was raised in the earth after several million years until God came into being in Rosgar.Hundreds of people who lived on the ground hundreds of millions of years ago and by digging in the bed of the cities we can reach 100% of the structure of the buildings and tall towers.The arms of the galaxy collided with the sun.The reason for these collisions is due to the rotation of the sun to the left, right and left.Therefore, the planets that are in the arm of the galaxy should escape.NASA scientists should read the message of God and the Lord.From what I know from astronomy, maybe they are the same.We are the only survivors of the people of Muhammad PBUH, but I hope that the big American companies that have sold their old weapons to Asian countries will stop thinking about interests and hypocrites.

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