Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Pan of Merging Galaxies: IC 1623 | James Webb Space Telescope

Pan of Merging Galaxies: IC 1623 | James Webb Space Telescope

This image from the NASA/European Space Agency/Canadian Space Agency James Webb Space Telescope depicts IC 1623, an entwined pair of interacting galaxies which lies around 270 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Cetus. The two galaxies in IC 1623 are plunging headlong into one another in a process known as a galaxy merger. Their collision has ignited a frenzied spate of star formation known as a starburst, creating new stars at a rate more than twenty times that of the Milky Way galaxy.

This interacting galaxy system is particularly bright at infrared wavelengths, making it a perfect proving ground for Webb’s ability to study luminous galaxies. A team of astronomers captured IC 1623 across the infrared portions of the electromagnetic spectrum using a trio of Webb’s cutting-edge scientific instruments: MIRI, NIRSpec, and NIRCam. In so doing, they provided an abundance of data that will allow the astronomical community at large to fully explore how Webb’s unprecedented capabilities will help to unravel the complex interactions in galactic ecosystems.

Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)/Webb, NASA & Canadian Space Agency (CSA), L. Armus & A. Evans, N. Bartmann  

Duration: 30 seconds

Release Date: October 25, 2022

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