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Webb Spots Large Spiral Galaxy in Hercules

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LEDA 2046648 is accompanied by a profusion of smaller, more distant galaxies which range from fully-fledged spirals to mere bright smudges.

This Webb image shows LEDA 2046648, a spiral galaxy one billion light-years away in the constellation of Hercules. Image credit: NASA / ESA / CSA / Webb / A. Martel.

LEDA 2046648 is a large spiral galaxy approximately one billion light-years from Earth.

Also known as 2MASX J16583507+3416309 or SDSS J165835.03+341630.7, the galaxy can be found in the constellation of Hercules.

“One of Webb’s principle science goals is to observe distant — and hence ancient — galaxies to understand the details of their formation, evolution, and composition,” Webb astronomers said in a statement.

“Webb’s keen infrared vision helps the telescope peer back in time, as the light from older, more distant galaxies is redshifted towards infrared wavelengths.”

“Comparing these galactic fossils to modern galaxies will help us understand how galaxies grew to form the structures we see in the Universe today.”

“Webb will also probe the chemical composition of thousands of galaxies to shed light on how heavy elements were formed and built up as galaxies evolved.”

“To take full advantage of Webb’s potential for galaxy archeology, we must first calibrate the telescope’s instruments and systems,” they said.

“Each of Webb’s instruments contains a labyrinthine array of mirrors and other optical elements that redirect and focus starlight gathered by Webb’s main mirror.”

“This particular observation was part of the commissioning campaign for Webb’s Near-InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS).”

“As well as performing science in its own right, NIRISS supports parallel observations with Webb’s Near-InfraRed Camera (NIRCam).”

“NIRCam captured this galaxy-studded image while NIRISS was observing a white dwarf called WD 1657+343.”

“This allows us to interpret and compare data from the two different instruments, and to characterize the performance of NIRISS.”

Source : Breaking Science News

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