The James Webb Space Telescope “accidentally” discovered the mysterious spiral of the purple galaxy in our universe!

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2022-07-23 13:19:43

In fact, this is Messier 74 (M74), nicknamed the Phantom Galaxy, a large spiral galaxy located in the constellation Pisces. The galaxy appears frontal and has an apparent magnitude of 10, located about 30 million light-years from Earth. Its name in the New General Catalog is NGC 628.

And this latest image of M74 was produced by Gabriel Brammer, an associate professor at the Center for Cosmic Dawn at the Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Denmark. As Brammer explains on Twitter, he downloaded processed raw data collected by the James Webb Space Telescope’s Mid-Range Infrared (MIRI) instrument (JWST) and then aggregated the modes view from three of the nine MIRI filters to create a new view of the galaxy.

The unprecedented clarity of the image shows JWST’s capabilities, and it’s no surprise that the image has excited many of Brammer’s fellow astronomers.

Messier 74 occupies an apparent sky area of ​​10.5 x 9.5 arcs, corresponding to a linear diameter of 95,000 light-years, roughly the size of the Milky Way. The galaxy is home to about 100 billion stars.

“Look what JWST observed yesterday… Oh, my goodness,” Brammer tweeted on Monday (local time), as he announced what looked like a purple vortex radiating in the opposite direction. clock hands from the galactic center.

“When you look at this image, you can see blue stars, red stars or even dust particles,” said Dr. Gabriel Brammer, an astronomer at the Niels Bohr Institute – University of Copenhagen (Danish). Circuit), shared with The Independent. “We’re actually seeing images of gas and dust in this galaxy, not stars.”

“This is the first time an image of a purple spiral galaxy has been found. It looks more like a terrifying illusion from a Marvel movie than the familiar spiral galaxy shape in visual telescopes. “, said Dr. Brammer.

James Webb Space Telescope

Allison Kirkpatrick, a professor of astronomy at the University of Kansas, tweeted an image of Brammer along with another from the now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope. The side-by-side images in a tweet Monday showcase the myriad cosmic details that JWST will highlight as it continues to study the Universe.

James Webb Space Telescope

In fact, Messier 74 is not an easy object to observe for amateur astronomers because it has a low surface brightness and needs a dark, especially clear sky.

Messier 74 is a perfect example of a large spiral galaxy. It has two well-defined spiral arms, direct orientation, and large apparent size that make it a frequent target of astronomers interested in studying the spiral arm structure. The spiral arms, which span about 1,000 light-years, contain young blue star clusters and numerous stellar nebulae. At the present time, this Galaxy is receding from us at a speed of 793 km/s.

James Webb Space Telescope

The large design spiral galaxy Messier 74 was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2007.

In March 2005, the Chandra X-ray Observatory detected a super bright X-ray source (ULX) in the galaxy. This object has an estimated mass of 10,000 times the Sun and emits more X-rays than a neutron star over a period of about two hours. The discovery indicates that there is a medium-mass black hole at the center of M74. The X-ray source was identified as CXOU J013651.1 154547. A total of 21 X-ray sources were detected within 5 minutes inside from the galactic core.

James Webb Space Telescope

Astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered a “dust factory” – the supernova SN 2003gd thirty million light-years away in the spiral galaxy M74.

Messier 74 was discovered by French astronomer Pierre Méchain at the end of September 1780. Méchain reported the discovery to his colleague and friend Charles Messier, who later added it to the above catalog of objects. deep sky on October 18, 1780 after its location was determined. However, due to technical and technological limitations, at the time it was thought that Messier 74 was just a nebula and did not have any stars in it.

James Webb Space Telescope

On June 24, 2009, SPIRE captured its first images during the orbital phase of the Herschel mission. This image, taken before the final calibration, shows the galaxy M74 at 250 microns. Traces of dust emission by dust in clouds where star formation is active, and nuclei and spiral arms are clearly visible.

James Webb Space Telescope

Image of galaxy M74 in Infrared at 3.6 (blue), 5.8 (green) and 8.0 (red) µm. The image was made by Médéric Boquien from data retrieved on the Spitzer Space Telescope’s SINGS Project public archive.

References: Tnverse; Messier-objects; The Independent

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