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Webb and Hubble space telescopes capture a fascinating galactic pair

Astronomers can capture more detailed images of the cosmos when they combine the observational power of the Hubble Space Telescope with James Webb Space Telescope.

NASA shared a new image of a galactic couple on Wednesday. It is the striking result of using data from both space observatories.

Each telescope contributed observations at different wavelengths of light. Webb can detect infrared radiation, which is not visible to the human eye. Hubble can observe both galaxies using visible and ultraviolet light. VV 191 is the name of the duo of the spiral galaxy and the elliptical galaxies. It’s approximately 700 million light-years from Earth.

Webb’s interdisciplinary scientist, and Arizona State University Regents Professor Rogier Windhorst wrote that “We got more than what we bargained for” for NASA’s Webb blog.

Webb’s new data enabled us to trace light emitted from the bright white spiral galaxy (left) through the winding spiral galaxies (right) and identify interstellar dust effects in the spiral galaxy. Webb’s near-infrared data shows us the galaxy’s long, extremely dusty spiral arms more clearly, giving it the appearance of overlapping with the bulge of a bright white elliptical.

This image is an early result of the observation program, the Prime Extragalactic Areas for Reionization and Lensing Science (or PEARLS), which was performed through the Webb Telescope. It has not yet gone through the peer review process. The Astrophysical Journal has accepted the study.

From nearly 2,000 candidates, scientists selected the galactic couple from Galaxy Zoo citizen science volunteers. Although they appear to be very close, these small galaxies are not interconnected. However, they allow scientists to track and compare galactic dust.

Windhorst stated that it is crucial to understand where dust is found in galaxies. Dust can alter the brightness and colors of images of galaxies. “Dust grains play a part in the formation of new stars or planets. Therefore, we continue to look for their presence to further our studies.

This composite image also revealed other celestial wonders. Another pair of galaxies can be seen behind them, and one of these points led to a second discovery in the new image. Gravitational lensing is a phenomenon where foreground galaxies act like magnifying glasses for objects behind them.

Webb’s July 1st image was created using the same technique. NASA claims that the space telescope provided the “deepest and sharpest infrared images of the distant universe to date.”

The faintly reddish arc is located above the white elliptical galaxies to the left. This is a distant galaxy. The light of the distant galaxy has been dimmed by the gravity of the elliptical galaxies in the foreground. It also appears as a red dot in the lower right corner of the elliptical galaxies due to warping.

Although the images of the distant galaxies are faint, they were not recognized by Hubble’s data. However, they can be seen in Webb’s near-infrared observation.

Windhorst stated that simulations of gravitationally-lensed galaxies such as this allow us to reconstruct the mass of individual stars and how much dark matter is at the core of this galaxy.

He said that beyond the information astronomers have gleaned about VV 191, the background to this Webb image suggests there are more mysteries in the universe. “The two patchy spirals at the upper left of elliptical galaxies have very different colors, but appear to be similar in size. Both are likely to be very dusty, and both are very far away. However, we (or other astronomers) need data called spectra to determine which one is.

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