The James Webb telescope has made a spectacular discovery, capturing a majestic Milky Way-like galaxy located an incredible one billion light-years from Earth. A new image of the distant galaxy has been released, showcasing an awe-inspiring spiral star system similar to our very own Milky Way. Here's what we know about the fascinating discovery so far.
This week, astronomers at the European Space Agency (ESA) unveiled a remarkable picture captured by the James Webb Telescope of an awe-inspiring spiral galaxy. Sitting 1 billion light years away in Hercules Constellation and mirroring our own Milky Way home, LEDA 2046648 contains trillions of stars, thousands of galaxies, and countless planets waiting to be explored. The amazing image was taken back on May 22nd 2020 as part ESA's calibration mission to confirm its telescope capabilities for upcoming science operations - where undoubtedly even more astonishing visual revelations are yet to come!
With this ultra-powerful camera technology, we can now observe even further into space. Phenomena like redshifting, where light from a distant source has its wavelength stretched as it moves away from us and appears reddish in hue due to universal expansion, is detectible thanks to systems such as LEDA 2046648, which continue moving farther and farther away. Astronomers are observing the galaxy's light from an incredible one billion years ago - 300 million after the Big Bang! By examining this ancient celestial object and others like it, scientists hope to gain insight into how stars formed outwards from the catastrophic event that marked its beginning, as well as understand more about enigmatic supermassive black holes at their cores.
The discovery comes just days after NASA's Hubble telescope observed a rare cosmic collision and merger of three galaxies. Astronomers say they are destined to collide and form a single massive entity. This cosmic event is reminiscent of the fate awaiting our home galaxy - the Milky Way – in 4.5 billion years time! This comes as no surprise to researchers, since the three galaxies have managed to find themselves a mere 50,000 light years away from each other! Don't worry, though - the Milky Way Galaxy's closest companion Andromeda is still considerably further away from us, coming in at a 2.5 million light year distance compared with this trios close-knit tightness! Will space ever cease to fascinate us? Stay tuned to find out more!