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31 Jan, 2023
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Phantom Galaxy

A Glimpse At The Heart Of Earth’s Nearest Phantom Galaxy

The study of space has always been a curious subject for humans. This is why countries across the world have invested billions of dollars in launching various missions to explore the possibilities of life in outer space. In this segment, the collaboration of space agencies has formed James Webb Space Telescope, which recently captured and shared Phantom Galaxy images. This galaxy is also known as M74 in the language of scientists’ community.

According to recently released NASA news, the Phantom Galaxy is around 32 million light-years away from the Earth in the constellation Pisces and lies almost face-on to Earth. The revealed images presented well-defined spiral arms of the galaxy that attracted astronomers to learn the origin and structure of galactic spirals.

NASA Phantom Galaxy, M74 

M74 is a particular spiral galaxy, which is characterized as a ‘grand design spiral’. This galaxy differs from regular galaxies because its spiral arms do not have patchy and rugged structures. The precise structure of the galaxy allowed the scientists to capture the broad arms of the prominent and well-defined structure of the galaxy. 

What Does James Webb Telescope Revealed About The Phantom Galaxy?

The sharp vision of the James Webb Telescope revealed a delicate filament of gas and dust in the glorious spiral arms of the M74 galaxy. The best part about this is the outward flow of gases and wind particles from the centre of the image. As revealed by the images, the outward flow of galaxy components created a vacant structure in the nuclear region. This vacant region offered an obscured view of the nuclear star cluster at the centre of the galaxy.

In contrast to the James Webb Telescope, the Hubble Telescope provided a view of the bright areas or HII regions of star formation.

How Telescope Captured The Images Of The Phantom Galaxy?

The Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI) of the Webb telescope gazed into M74 to provide details about the early phases of star formation in the local Universe. The observations made by the scientists presented a few glimpses of the efforts made by the PHANGS collaboration. 

According to experts, the PHANGS collaboration is looking to chart 19 nearby star-forming galaxies in the infrared region of the telescope. Earlier, the exploration teams pictured the remaining galaxies via NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based observatories. And now they are looking to picture all those galaxies in a single frame.

The crystal clear observations shared recently at larger wavelengths allowed astronomers to pinpoint star-forming regions in the galaxies. Scientists captured images of these regions by accurately measuring the masses and ages of the star clusters. With these efforts, it is expected that scientists will soon provide detailed insights into the nature of the small grains of dust drifting in interstellar space.

How NASA Formed The Images?

The sharp vision of the Hubble telescope at ultraviolet and visible wavelengths complemented Webb’s unparalleled sensitivity at infrared wavelengths. Looking after the success of recent efforts, scientists combined data from different telescopes which were operating across the electromagnetic spectrum. This combination allowed scientists to gain greater insights into astronomical objects.

What Is James Webb Space Telescope?

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s largest space science observatory that has an assigned task to solve the mysteries of our Solar System. Through this space facility, scientists can quickly look beyond to distant worlds around other galaxies, probe mysterious structures and origins of our Universe and locate our place in it. Webb telescope is an international program initiated by NASA with its allies- European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

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