James Webb telescope snaps amazing photo of spectacular Cartwheel Galaxy

Washington DC - The James Webb space telescope "is on a roll" as it captured amazing images of the Cartwheel Galaxy, located around 500 million light years away, according to a statement by NASA.

The Cartwheel Galaxy is located around 500 million light years away.
The Cartwheel Galaxy is located around 500 million light years away.  © NASA

The galaxy is made up of two rings: a bright inner ring containing a "tremendous amount of hot dust" and a surrounding, colorful one. The image shows that the galaxy is in a "very transitory" stage and will continue to transform, NASA said.

Other telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, have previously examined the Cartwheel, the statement said. "But the dramatic galaxy has been shrouded in mystery – perhaps literally, given the amount of dust that obscures the view. Webb, with its ability to detect infrared light, now uncovers new insights into the nature of the Cartwheel."

The latest image comes some two weeks after the telescope snapped the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date.

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The James Webb is world's most powerful – and expensive – telescope and was built jointly by NASA and space agencies from Europe and Canada.

It was launched on December 25 aboard an Ariane launch vehicle from the European Space Agency's Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.

The Webb telescope took about 30 years to develop and cost around $10 billion. It is the successor of the Hubble telescope, which has been in use for more than 30 years.

Cover photo: NASA

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