This galaxy polishes up real nice. In this brand new image of dwarf galaxy Wol…
This galaxy polishes up real nice. 💎
In this brand new image of dwarf galaxy Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte (WLM), the Webb telescope demonstrates its remarkable ability to resolve faint stars outside the Milky Way. Swipe right to see a video comparing Webb’s view with previous Spitzer and Hubble images of the same target.
Just 3 million light-years from Earth, WLM is considered a dwarf galaxy in our galactic neighborhood. While it is close, it’s much more isolated than other nearby galaxies, which interact with our own Milky Way. WLM also has a similar chemical makeup to galaxies in the early universe, meaning it’s poor in elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. Because WLM is small and low-mass, supernovae (star explosion) events can be powerful and energetic enough to expel heavier elements out of the galaxy.
Taken altogether, these traits make WLM ideal for studying how stars form and evolve in small galaxies, similar to those in the early universe. The science here is complementary to what we learn by looking at the farthest and oldest galaxies, which appear as they were when they first formed. More at the link in our bio!
Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, & Kristen McQuinn (Rutgers University)
1. Dwarf galaxy Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte as viewed by the Webb telescope’s NIRCam instrument. Countless white stars, interspersed with yellow and orange background galaxies of various shapes, dot the black background. One prominent galaxy is a pale yellow spiral in the top left corner of the image. Another defining feature is a large white star with long diffraction spikes, seen just to the right of the top center.
2. Video that fades from Spitzer to Hubble then Webb views of dwarf galaxy WLM, each labeled. Spitzer’s image resembles fuzzy white blotches against a black background. The differences between Hubble and Webb’s images are more subtle. Both feature countless white stars, but Webb’s view has more sharply defined, colorful background galaxies as well as its characteristic snowflake diffraction spike pattern around particularly bright stars.
This highlights data from Webb science in progress; it hasn’t yet been through the peer-review process.