It's time to take a deep dive into the universe.
Webb's infrared investigations are allowing scientists to peer through obscuring dust in the region to see starbirth, along with clutches of newborn stars around a central supermassive black hole.
"Webb's observations capture Cartwheel in a very transitory stage," European Space Agency (ESA) officials wrote in a caption with the video, posted on YouTube on Monday (Aug. 8).
The Cartwheel is roughly 500 million light-years from our planet and is termed a ring galaxy, which is a rare kind of galaxy. Scientists think the Cartwheel used to be a spiral galaxy, similar to our Milky Way, but a crash roughly 700 million or 800 million years ago altered its future.
The collision, likely with a smaller galaxy, created two rings. The outer ring is moving away dust and gas in the galactic region, which is triggering star formation. The other ring surrounds the galaxy itself.
"The form that the Cartwheel Galaxy will eventually take, given these two competing forces, is still a mystery," ESA officials wrote. "However, this snapshot provides perspective on what happened to the galaxy in the past and what it will do in the future."
Webb has already reached far into the universe, even though the observatory has only been fully operational for a few weeks. The $10 billion telescope launched Dec. 25, 2021, and wrapped up its commissioning period last month.
Its images so far include a view of the farthest star we've seen to date (it's called Earendel, a "Lord of the Rings" reference), a haunting "Phantom Galaxy" and the deepest view of the universe we've ever seen.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace