Spectacular image from Heart of Phantom Galaxy shows the power of Webb

Heart of the Phantom Galaxy

This image from the James Webb Space Telescope shows the core of M74, otherwise known as the phantom galaxy. Webb’s sharp vision revealed delicate filaments of gas and dust in the awe-inspiring spiraling arms that curl outward from the center of this image. A lack of gas in the nuclear region also provides a clear view of the nuclear star cluster at the center of the galaxy. Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-JWST team

Incredible new images of the spectacular ghost galaxy, M74, show the power of space observatories working together across multiple wavelengths. In this case, the data of[{” attribute=””>James Webb Space Telescope and the
New images of the ghost galaxy, M74, show the power of space observatories working together across multiple wavelengths. This video includes the Hubble Space Telescope’s view of the galaxy, which features older, redder stars toward the center, younger, bluer stars in its spiral arms, down to the most active star formation in the bubbles red H II regions. The James Webb Space Telescope image is strikingly different, instead highlighting the masses of gas and dust in the arms of the galaxy, and the dense star cluster at its heart. The combined image of M74 fuses these two together for a truly unique look at this “grand design” spiral galaxy.

M74 is a special class of spiral galaxy known as the “great spiral of design”. This means that its spiral arms are prominent and well defined, unlike the uneven and irregular structure seen in some spiral galaxies.

Webb’s sharp vision revealed delicate filaments of gas and dust within M74’s grandiose spiral arms, which curl outward from the center of the image. A lack of gas in the nuclear region also provides a clear view of the nuclear star cluster at the center of the galaxy.

Ghost galaxy across the spectrum

M74 shines brightly in this combined optical/mid-infrared image, showcasing data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope.
With Hubble’s venerable Advanced Survey Camera (ACS) and Webb’s powerful Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) capturing a range of wavelengths, this new image has remarkable depth. Red colors mark dust threaded through the arms of the galaxy, with lighter oranges being areas of warmer dust. Young stars through the arms and nuclear core are highlighted in blue. Heavier, older stars toward the center of the galaxy are shown in cyan and green, casting a spooky glow from the core of the phantom galaxy. Star formation bubbles are also visible in pink on the arms. Such a variety of galactic features is rare to see in a single image.
Scientists combine data from telescopes operating across the entire electromagnetic spectrum to truly understand astronomical objects. In this way, data from Hubble and Webb complement each other to provide a comprehensive view of the spectacular galaxy M74.
Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA and CSA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-JWST team; ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Chandar Acknowledgements: J. Schmidt

Webb scanned M74 with his Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) to learn more about the early stages of star formation in the local universe. These observations are part of a larger effort to map 19 nearby star-forming galaxies in the infrared by the international PHANGS collaboration. These galaxies have already been observed using the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based observatories.

Adding crystalline Webb observations at longer wavelengths will allow astronomers to locate star-forming regions in galaxies, accurately measure the masses and ages of star clusters, and better understand the nature of small specks of dust drifting through interstellar space. .


This image from the James Webb Space Telescope shows the core of M74, otherwise known as the phantom galaxy. Webb’s sharp vision revealed delicate filaments of gas and dust in the awe-inspiring spiraling arms that curl outward from the center of this image. A lack of gas in the nuclear region also provides a clear view of the nuclear star cluster at the center of the galaxy. M74 is a special class of spiral galaxy known as the “grand design spiral”, meaning that its spiral arms are prominent and well-defined, unlike the uneven and irregular structure seen in some spiral galaxies.

Hubble Observations of M74 revealed particularly bright areas of star formation called HII regions. Hubble’s sharp vision at ultraviolet and visible wavelengths complements Webb’s unrivaled sensitivity at infrared wavelengths, as do observations from ground-based radio telescopes such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, ALMA.

By combining data from telescopes operating across the electromagnetic spectrumscientists can understand astronomical objects better than using a single observatory – even one as powerful as Webb!

Multi-observatory views of M74

New images of the ghost galaxy, M74, show the power of space observatories working together across multiple wavelengths.
On the left, the Hubble Space Telescope’s view of the galaxy ranges from older, redder stars toward the center, to younger, bluer stars in its spiral arms, to the most active star formation in the red bubbles from H II regions. On the right, the James Webb Space Telescope image is strikingly different, instead highlighting the masses of gas and dust in the arms of the galaxy, and the dense cluster of stars at its heart. The combined image in the center merges these two together for a truly unique look at this “grand design” spiral galaxy.
Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA and CSA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-JWST team; ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Chandar Acknowledgements: J. Schmidt

About Webb

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s first space science observatory. Webb goes solve the mysteries of our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by
M74 shines brightly in this combined optical/mid-infrared image, showcasing data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope. With Hubble’s venerable Advanced Survey Camera (ACS) and Webb’s powerful Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) capturing a range of wavelengths, this new image has remarkable depth. Red colors mark dust threaded through the arms of the galaxy, with lighter oranges being areas of warmer dust. Young stars through the arms and nuclear core are highlighted in blue. Heavier, older stars toward the center of the galaxy are shown in cyan and green, casting a spooky glow from the core of the phantom galaxy. Star formation bubbles are also visible in pink on the arms. Such a variety of galactic features is rare to see in a single image.

MIRI was provided by ESA and NASA, with the instrument being designed and built by a consortium of nationally funded European institutes (the European MIRI Consortium) in partnership with

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