Stunning new images produced by the Hubble Telescope and the James Webb Telescope show the Ghost Galaxy, a spiral of solar systems 32 million light-years distant from Earth.
The galaxy is located in the constellation of Pisces, according to the European Space Agency (ESA, for its acronym in English), which collaborates with NASA on both the Hubble Telescope and the James Webb Telescope.
The Ghost Galaxy, formally known as M74, is a type of galaxy called a “grand design spiral.” This means that it has well-defined spiral arms, visibly winding from the center of the galaxy in the newly released images.
The images were created using data from both the Hubble Telescope and the Webb Telescope. Webb detected “delicate filaments of gas and dust” in the spiral arms of the galaxy, according to the ESA. The images also provide a clear view of the nuclear star cluster at the center of the galaxy, devoid of gas clouds.
The Webb Telescope also used its Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI) to examine the ghost galaxy as part of a project to understand the earliest stages of star formation, ESA said.
While Webb is better at observing infrared wavelengths of light, Hubble has particularly sharp vision in ultraviolet and visible wavelengths, according to the agency. This allowed him to reveal particularly bright areas of star formation, known as HII regions, in the images of the Ghost Galaxy.
Combining data from both telescopes allowed scientists to gain an even deeper understanding of the Ghost Galaxy and create spectacular images of the cosmos.
NASA released the first high-resolution images of Webb just a few weeks ago in July. Larger than Hubble, the telescope is capable of observing extremely distant galaxies, allowing scientists to learn about early star formation. Hubble orbits the Earth, but Webb orbits the Sunabout 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.