Science & Tech

Astronomers have discovered a ‘treasure trove’ hidden 17 million light-years away

Astronomers have discovered a ‘treasure trove’ hidden 17 million light-years away
Webb Telescope Detects Organic Molecules In Distant Galaxy

Astronomers have discovered a ‘treasure trove’ after capturing an image of a barred spiral galaxy located 17 million light-years away.

The findings were made after the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) gave a more in depth look at galaxy NGC 5068.

The feature is found in the constellation of Virgo, and it’s thought that the discovery could lead scientists to discover more about barred spiral galaxies like our own.

The observations are all part of a series of findings from the JWST, with the telescope having collected images of 19 galaxies to add to our understanding of star-birthing galaxies.

The bars can be seen in the upper left-hand section of the image posted by NASA below and they’re made up of tightly clustered stars.

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It’s thought that structures like these take as long as two billion years to form, which could mean they’re a lot older than other galaxies.

“This image of the central, bright star-forming regions of the galaxy is part of a campaign to create an astronomical treasure trove, a repository of observations of star formation in nearby galaxies,” Webb astronomers said, via

“These observations are particularly valuable to us for two reasons. The first is because star formation underpins so many fields in astronomy, from the physics of the tenuous plasma that lies between stars to the evolution of entire galaxies.”

“By observing the formation of stars in nearby galaxies, we hope to kick-start major scientific advances with some of the first available data from Webb.”

It continued: “The second reason is that Webb’s observations build on other studies using telescopes including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based observatories.”

They went on to say: “With its ability to peer through the gas and dust enshrouding newborn stars, Webb is particularly well-suited to explore the processes governing star formation.

“Stars and planetary systems are born amongst swirling clouds of gas and dust that are opaque to visible-light observatories like Hubble or VLT.”

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