webb's icy instrument reveals complex structures
Hubble image. Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-JWST and PHANGS-HST Teams

These spectacular images feature the spiral galaxy IC 5332, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (above) and the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope (below). The images display the powerful capabilities that both world-leading space telescopes provide, especially when combining their data.

The Webb image shows the spiral galaxy in unprecedented detail thanks to observations from its Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI). IC 5332 lies over 29 million light-years from Earth, and has a diameter of roughly 66,000 light-years, making it a little larger than the Milky Way. It is notable for being almost perfectly face-on with respect to Earth, allowing us to admire the symmetrical sweep of its spiral arms.

webb's icy instrument reveals complex structures
Webb image. Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-JWST and PHANGS-HST Teams

MIRI is the only Webb instrument that is sensitive to the mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum (specifically in the 5 µm–28 µm wavelength range); Webb’s other instruments all operate in the near-infrared. Contributed under both ESA and NASA leadership, MIRI is the first instrument that delivers mid-infrared images that are sharp enough to be easily matched to Hubble’s view at shorter wavelengths.

One of MIRI’s most remarkable features is that it operates 33 °C below the rest of the observatory at the frosty temperature of –266 °C. That means that MIRI operates in an environment only 7 °C warmer than absolute zero, which is the lowest possible temperature according to the laws of thermodynamics. MIRI requires this frigid environment in order for its highly specialized detectors to function correctly, and it has a dedicated active cooling system to ensure that its detectors are kept at the correct temperature.

It is worth noting just how challenging it is to obtain observations in the mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The mid-infrared is incredibly difficult to observe from Earth as much of it is absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere, and heat from Earth’s atmosphere further complicates things. Hubble could not observe the mid-infrared region as its mirrors were not cool enough, meaning that infrared radiation from the mirrors themselves would have dominated any attempted observations. The extra effort made to ensure that MIRI’s detectors had the freezing environment necessary to operate properly is evident in this stunning image.

This extravagantly detailed mid-infrared image is juxtaposed here with a beautiful ultraviolet and visible-light image of the same galaxy, created using data collected by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). Some differences are immediately obvious. The Hubble image shows dark regions that seem to separate the spiral arms, whereas the Webb image shows more of a continual tangle of structures that echo the spiral arms’ shape. This difference is due to the presence of dusty regions in the galaxy. Ultraviolet and visible light are far more prone to being scattered by interstellar dust than infrared light. Therefore dusty regions can be identified easily in the Hubble image as the darker regions that much of the galaxy’s ultraviolet and visible light has not been able to travel through. Those same dusty regions are no longer dark in the Webb image, however, as the mid-infrared light from the galaxy has been able to pass through them. Different stars are visible in the two images, which can be explained because certain stars shine brighter in the ultraviolet, visible and infrared regimes respectively. The images complement one another in a remarkable way, each telling us more about IC 5332’s structure and composition. Provided by European Space Agency Citation: Webb’s icy instrument reveals complex structures (2022, September 27) retrieved 27 September 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-09-webb-icy-instrument-reveals-complex.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Target’s Cyber Monday sale: Deals on TVs, headphones, and Xbox Series S

Just in time for Black Friday, Target shared its plans for a two-day Cyber Monday sales event that actually kicks off on Sunday. Target’s two-day Cyber Monday sale will feature savings on “hundreds of thousands of items” on Target.com and the Target app. There will also be new deals ...

View more: Target’s Cyber Monday sale: Deals on TVs, headphones, and Xbox Series S

Looks Like Netflix Is Expanding Into PC Gaming

Miguel Lagoa/Shutterstock.com Netflix’s foray into gaming started in 2021 with mixed success. Now, the streaming giant appears to want to extend its game offering from mobile games into full-fledged PC games, complete with AAA titles. Engadget recently noticed a job listing on the Netflix’s website for a “Game Director.” The ...

View more: Looks Like Netflix Is Expanding Into PC Gaming

A Guardians Holiday Special mystery was just solved – here’s what it means

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is streaming on Disney Plus. It’s a light-hearted, funny MCU adventure that delivers a perfect low-stakes end to Phase 4. The short Marvel movie also provides a big revelation that should impact the action in Guardians 3 and other MCU movies. But ...

View more: A Guardians Holiday Special mystery was just solved – here’s what it means

26 Cheap Amazon Gadgets That Are Still Available at Black Friday Prices

These Amazon Cyber Monday deals may not be on your wish list, but they'll likely make you say, "Sure, why not?"

View more: 26 Cheap Amazon Gadgets That Are Still Available at Black Friday Prices

Black Friday Is Over, but These 9 Record-Low Deals Are Still Here Ahead of Cyber Monday

You just won't find better deals this Black Friday weekend.

View more: Black Friday Is Over, but These 9 Record-Low Deals Are Still Here Ahead of Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday Sale Drops the Backbone Mobile Game Controllers to $65. That's a Steal

The Backbone One game controllers, which snap on to your phone, are among the best I've ever used, and certainly in the top two for iPhones.

View more: Cyber Monday Sale Drops the Backbone Mobile Game Controllers to $65. That's a Steal

Cyber Monday Deals Ahead: Black Friday Sales on Google Gadgets Are Still Going Strong

Take advantage of these Cyber Monday discounts on Google Store gadgets like Pixel phones and Nest products.

View more: Cyber Monday Deals Ahead: Black Friday Sales on Google Gadgets Are Still Going Strong

100-Plus Deals to Keep an Eye on Ahead of Cyber Monday

Amazon has switched focus to Cyber Monday, but most of its Black Friday deals are still up for grabs.

View more: 100-Plus Deals to Keep an Eye on Ahead of Cyber Monday

Scientists Reveal That This Type of Dating Profile Sparks More Attraction

Orion captures haunting pictures of the Lunar surface

These Super Secret Cyber Monday Deals Require Your Voice to Access Them

Take Advantage of This Disney Plus Deal for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Ford’s New Electric Van Tows Your Family Into the Future

How to Use Google Drive Files Offline on Mac

The links between viruses and Alzheimer’s were dismissed for years – but evidence is building

Chinese Vessel With Largest-ever Cannon Entered Japan Territory Near Disputed Senkakus

Astronomers Discover Important New Information Regarding Star Formation

Mind the gaps: The world needs to radically transform its educational systems, not just upgrade them

Black Friday Target Deals Still Live: Price Drops Ahead of Cyber Monday

Why Amazon's Alexa and Echo Devices Might Not Be Profitable? Here are Some Reasons

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News