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Stunning Spiral Galaxies Captivate Viewers In NASA’s Latest Release

NASA's James Webb Telescope unveils mesmerizing spiral galaxy images

A newly-released collection of spiral galaxy images could leave viewers ‘mesmerized’ according to NASA.

The jaw-dropping pictures are the result of the space agency’s use of the powerful James Webb Space Telescope to contribute to a study of the cosmic wonders.

Stunning spiral galaxies captivate viewers in NASA’s latest release. They are part of a long-standing project, the Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby GalaxieS (PHANGS) program, which is supported by more than 150 astronomers worldwide.

“It’s oh-so-easy to be absolutely mesmerised 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,” said NASA.


Janice Lee, a project scientist for strategic initiatives at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, says: “Webb’s new images are extraordinary. 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.”


NASA says “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,” said Thomas Williams, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

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.


Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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