February 1, 2023

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A galaxy far away is like a Christmas tree decoration. The Webb telescope officially kicks off the holidays

To achieve this, the agency provided an image of a spiral galaxy 230 million light-years away. In the photo we see something that looks surprisingly similar to a Christmas tree ornament. And since it’s Christmas Eve, we didn’t fail to share this photo with you.

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In the image, you can identify the galaxy NGC 7469, which is of interest to scientists due to the fact that its observations provide information about star formation, the evolution of supermassive black holes and interactions between galaxies.

Since the surface of this galaxy faces our planet almost directly, we can admire its spiral arms and the rest of the structures that make up NGC 7469 in all its glory, its center exceptionally bright, especially if we take infrared radiation into account.

Why such high brightness? All because of a supermassive black hole. On them the surrounding matter falls, which in turn creates large amounts of light. When gravity sucks on this material, friction occurs, which raises the temperature and causes it to glow.

The galaxy captured by the James Webb Space Telescope is NGC 7469

Also, about 1,500 light-years from the center of NGC 7469 is another bright ring where increased activity from young stars is occurring. By analyzing this kind of relationship, astronomers can assess how the supermassive black hole’s activity affects the rate of formation of new stars. So far, scientists have concluded that a highly ionized, diffuse atomic gas is being blasted out from the galactic center at a speed of about 6.4 million kilometers per hour.

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It is also worth explaining where the red “star” came from, which evokes associations with the Christmas tree decoration. This red element is a diffraction boom from the James Webb Space Telescope. So this is more the effect of a bug than the actual appearance of a galaxy millions of light years away.