The James Webb Space Telescope has captured a stunning image looking back 270 million years into the past.
The James Webb Space Telescope has surprised us with its capabilities since its launch. NASA’s $10 billion space telescope has captured breathtaking images of distant galaxies, star clusters, black holes and more. In fact, it looks back in time to hundreds of millions of years ago. Now the telescope has done another feat of looking back in time and capturing a stunning image of crashing galaxies, which happened more than 270 million years ago.
ESA has released the mesmerizing image showing an entwined pair of galaxies from the constellation Cetus, about 270 million years ago. The JWST is jointly operated by NASA and ESA. ESA explained in a blog below the image: “The two galaxies in IC 1623 are collapsing head over heels in a process known as a galaxy merger. Their collision has created a frenzied wave of star formation known as a starburst, which has created new stars at speeds more than twenty times that of the Milky Way Galaxy. ”
Although this same galaxy was previously captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, the JWST’s infrared imaging instruments are much more technologically advanced, helping to capture this stunning image. The team of scientists captured the image over the infrared portions of the electromagnetic system using JWST’s MIRI, NIRSpec and NIRCam instruments.
JWST in trouble
Just a few months ago, the James Webb Space Telescope experienced problems with one of its instruments. According to NASA, the Mid-Infrared Instrument aboard the JWST is not functioning optimally due to a problem with one of the four observation modes. NASA said in a blog“On Aug. 24, a mechanism supporting one of these modes, known as medium-resolution spectroscopy (MRS), showed what appears to be increased friction while set up for a scientific observation.”
This isn’t the first time the $10 billion space telescope has encountered problems while in use. In June, the telescope was struck by a meteoroid that caused some damage to one of the telescope’s 18 mirror fragments, which had to be corrected by NASA to compensate for the damage.