Almost every day, fascinating new images of the Universe are now produced thanks to the space telescope James Webb. On Monday, August 29, the European Space Agency (ESA) posted an image depicting the “Ghost Galaxy”also known as Messier 74. The particularity of the image is that it is a combination of data collected by Webb and Hubble.
The Phantom Galaxy or Messier 74, or M74 is located at a distance of 32 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation Pisces. It has always fascinated astronomers since its discovery in 1780 by Pierre Mechain.
Hubble and Webb
The image of the Phantom Galaxy was produced using data collected in the range of visible and ultraviolet wavelengths by Hubblecombined with data collected in the infrared range by Webb. In the image captured by Webb, we can see in particular all the gas and dust that is at the level of the outer edge of the spiral.
Webb’s observations were made using the instrument MIRI or Mid-InfraRed Instrument. They were carried out within the framework of a census campaign of 19 star-producing galaxies in this region of the Universe. According to ESA, this project is part of an international collaboration called PHANGS which uses observations from several telescopes including Hubble and other ground-based observatories.
Far from over
The image of the M72 galaxy in itself represents the beauty of the cosmos, but above all it is proof that the Hubble telescope is still a long way from retirementalthough it has already been in space for 32 years old.
According to the ESA, observations of the Phantom Galaxy made by Hubble show star formations known as “H II regions” inside the galaxy.
The European agency says that by combining data collected by telescopes operating across the electromagnetic spectrum, more can be learned about astronomical objects than using a single observatory.
The ESA explains that the addition of Webb’s observations, which uses longer wavelengths, will allow astronomers to spot star-forming regions in galaxies. It will also be possible to precisely measure the masses and ages of star clusters and to learn more about the nature of the small grains of dust that drift in interstellar space.