A new image based on new data from deep space appears to show a wormhole spinning before our very eyes.
The aptly named “Ghost Galaxy” glows eerily in a new image by Judy Schmidt based on James Webb Space Telescope data collected nearly a million miles from our planet using the observatory’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI).
“I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and [Webb] the data is new and different and exciting,” Schmidt told Space.com. “Of course I’m going to do something with it.”
live updates: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Mission
Gallery: First photos of the James Webb Space Telescope
The image highlights dust lanes in the galaxy, which is more correctly known as NGC 628 or Messier 74. Nicknamed the “perfect spiral“by some astronomers because the galaxy is so symmetrical, the ghost galaxy is scientifically interesting because of the intermediate mass black hole scientists believe it is embedded in his heart.
the galaxy has been in the image professionally many times before, even by space observatories like the hubble space telescope and the Wide Field Infrared Survey Scanner (WISE). What makes Webb’s images stand apart from these earlier efforts is the mid-infrared range that cosmic dust highlights, along with the power of its unique 18 segment hexagonal mirror and location in deep space.
Webb observed M74 earlier this week. The data was also shared. On twitter (opens in a new tab) (with a different leak) by Gabriel Brammer, an astronomer at the Cosmic Dawn Center at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Denmark.
A selection of raw Webb images is made publicly available in this portal (opens in a new tab) a few hours or days after the observations, and amateur imagers and scientists can use the data as long as they credit the source when publishing it.
The busy deep space telescope launched its Images of first operations on July 12 of deep space objects, including a nebula and a view of very young galaxies. A infrared view of jupiteralong with the gas giant’s moons and rings, they joined the iconic new images on July 14.
That week’s work just shows Webb’s flexibility to switch between distant objects near the cosmic dawn – when the stars began to shine – and Solar system objects much closer to your viewfinder.
As for Phantom Galaxy, Schmidt used Photoshop and FITS Liberator for most of the work and said many of the concepts in his 2017 YouTube Image Tutorial (opens in a new tab) will help with today’s most advanced software.
You can see more spectacular images of photos of Webb and other cosmic objects at Schmidt’s flickr page (opens in a new tab).
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace (opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @spacedot.com (opens in a new tab) and in Facebook (opens in a new tab).
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