This galaxy, according to one expert, “probably looks a lot like what we think our own Milky Way looks like.”
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful and expensive of history, has captured an astonishing image of a spiral-shaped galaxy and a deep purple color.
The image was shared this Monday on Twitter by Gabriel Brammer, an astronomer at the Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen (Denmark).
In an interview with The Independent, Brammer explained that this galaxy, known as NGC 628, “probably looks a lot like what we think our own Milky Way looks like.”
NGC 628 had been photographed before by James Webb’s predecessor, the legendary Hubble Space Telescope, but the result was not it looked very much like the purple spiral structure captured by the mid-infrared lens of the new telescope.
“You look at this galaxy with Hubble or with ground-based telescopes (…) you see blue stars, you see red stars, you see spiral arms, you see dust lanes,” Brammer said, adding that with James Webb you see “ the opposite of that “, an image “of the gas and dust in this galaxy, rather than the stars”.
Decades of waiting
Brammer believes that the capacity of James Webb is “truly spectacular” and assures that this is a very special moment for astronomers.
“We have been waiting for Webb in some cases for decades and we’ve all been without a lot of sleep for the last week looking at as many different images of Webb as we can,” he said.
The space telescope was launched on December 25, 2021 and was named in honor of James Webb, who headed NASA between 1961 and 1968. Its price is estimated at about 10,000 million dollars and, thanks to the quality of the images it captures, the US agency hopes that the scientific community can learn more about the mass, age, history, and composition of galaxies as the telescope searches the depths of the universe.