A comprehensive view of the Phantom Galaxy
In brief: The European Space Agency has demonstrated what is possible when observations from multiple space telescopes at different wavelengths are combined. The result is breathtaking.
The ESA combined data from the James Webb and Hubble telescopes to provide a comprehensive illustration of Messier 74 in the image above. This large spiral galaxy, also known as the Phantom Galaxy, is located approximately 32 million light-years from Earth in the equatorial constellation Pisces and was discovered in 1780 by Pierre Méchain. It has a diameter of 95,000 light-years and is considered home to 100 billion stars.
The red color represents dust, while the lighter orange colors represent hotter dust. The nuclear core and young stars are depicted in blue, while older, heavier stars are depicted in green and cyan. Pink spots indicate the formation of stars. The galaxy’s well-defined spiral arms and its proximity to Earth make it a popular target for astronomers studying galactic spirals.
Webb used its Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) to observe M74, highlighting gas and dust within the galaxy’s arms. It also provided an unobstructed view of the galaxy’s core nuclear star cluster. Meanwhile, Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys captured sharp images at ultraviolet and visible wavelengths (ACS).
According to the ESA, the observations are part of a larger effort by the international PHANGS collaboration to map 19 star-forming galaxies in the infrared spectrum.
Combining data from telescopes across the electromagnetic spectrum not only looks cool but will also help scientists understand these astronomical wonders better. Webb’s observations, in particular, will aid in pinpointing star-forming regions, the more accurate measurement of the ages and masses of star clusters, and understanding the structure of small grains of dust in interstellar space. Read More; Elon Musk proves he’s the wrong man to save the world
Spectrum Phantom Galaxy
This combined optical/mid-infrared image, which includes data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, shows M74 at its brightest.
This new image has remarkable depth, thanks to Hubble’s venerable Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Webb’s powerful Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), capturing a range of wavelengths. The red colors represent dust that runs through the arms of the galaxy, while the lighter oranges represent hotter dust. Read Also; 5G Coalition Accuses SpaceX Of Starlink Misinformation Campaign
The young stars are highlighted in blue throughout the arms and nuclear core. Heavier, older stars near the galaxy’s core are shown in cyan and green, casting an eerie glow from the Phantom Galaxy’s core. Pink bubbles of star formation can also be seen across the arms. It’s unusual to see so many different galactic features in a single image.
Scientists combine data from telescopes operating across the electromagnetic spectrum to understand astronomical objects truly. This way, Hubble and Webb’s data complement each other to provide a complete picture of the spectacular M74 galaxy.