NASA’s Webb Depicts Staggering Structure in 19 Nearby Spiral Galaxies

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Spiral galaxy NGC 628 is 32 million light-years away in the constellation Pisces. Webb’s image of NGC 628 shows a densely populated face-on spiral galaxy anchored by its central region, which has a light blue haze that takes up about a quarter of the view. In this circular core is the brightest blue area. Within the core are populations of older stars, represented by many pinpoints of blue light. Spiny spiral arms made of stars, gas, and dust also start at the center, largely starting in the wider area of the blue haze. The spiral arms extend to the edges, rotating counterclockwise. The spiraling filamentary structure looks somewhat like a cross section of a nautilus shell. The arms of the galaxy are largely orange, ranging from dark to bright orange. Scattered across the packed scene are some additional bright blue pinpoints of light, which are stars spread throughout the galaxy. In areas where there is less orange, it is darker, and some dark regions look more circular. A prominent dark “bubble” appears to the top left of the blue core. And a wider, elliptical “bubble” to the bottom right.

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Janice Lee (STScI), Thomas Williams (Oxford), and the PHANGS team

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