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New photos show Phantom Galaxy, around 32 million light-years away

Images from the NASA Hubble and James Webb Space telescopes. (NASA)

New photos released Monday by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) provide an in-depth look at the Phantom Galaxy, more formally known as M74, located around 32 million light-years away from Earth.

The photos, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope, provide different views of the galaxy, known for its well-defined spiral formation. While the Hubble telescope excels in giving insights into ultraviolet and visible wavelengths, the Webb telescope works best in analyzing infrared wavelengths.

Combining data from the two telescopes created three images, one from each telescope and a combination of the two, that provide deeper insight into the galaxy.

“New images of the spectacular Phantom Galaxy, M74, showcase the power of space observatories working together in multiple wavelengths,” the ESA wrote.

The Hubble telescope’s optical vision photos show older stars focused toward the center of the spiral and younger, blue stars in the outer region of the spiral, while the Webb telescope’s infrared vision showcases a ring star formation near the center of the galaxy and gas and dust in its arm regions.

“Now we have a broader (and even more beautiful!) understanding of the galaxy M74!” NASA tweeted Tuesday about the images.

The specific spiral structure of the Phantom Galaxy “makes it a favourite target for astronomers studying the origin and structure of galactic spirals,” the ESA noted.

The new photos are among several that have been made public since the initial images from the $10 billion James Webb telescope were released in July.

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