James Webb’s masterpiece took on a new color with the help of X-ray data

Four of the first science images from NASA's powerful James Webb Telescope have been enhanced using X-ray data from the Chandra Space Observatory, revealing surprising information.

BingMag.com James Webb’s masterpiece took on a new color with the help of X-ray data

Four of the first science images from NASA's powerful James Webb Telescope have been enhanced using X-ray data from the Chandra Space Observatory, revealing surprising information.

The first science images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) released this summer quickly became iconic, but now a new team using data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory ray Observatory) has shown that although the James Webb is the most powerful space telescope ever built, it is not meant to explore the universe alone, and when combined with other instruments, it has an even greater effect.

James Webb for It is designed to see the cosmos in the infrared spectrum, so its observational data is especially enhanced when combined with instruments that see space at other wavelengths. Such as the images combined with the X-ray spectrum from the Chandra telescope and according to NASA, they show new features that were not visible to James Webb.

BingMag.com James Webb’s masterpiece took on a new color with the help of X-ray data

Consider the image of Stephan's Quintet, where four galaxies are locked in a complex gravitational dance, with a fifth galaxy observing the cosmic dance from afar. James Webb's image of these galaxies reveals features, including the effects of their interactions, such as gas trails and intense bursts of star formation, that astronomers have never seen before.

But with the help of data from Chandra and NASA's retired Spitzer Space Telescope , a never-before-seen shock wave was revealed, heating gases to tens of millions of degrees. This shock wave is created by one of the galaxies that is spinning among other galaxies at a speed of about 3 million kilometers per hour.

BingMag.com James Webb’s masterpiece took on a new color with the help of X-ray data

Cosmic Collisions Another key image is James Webb, which shows the distant galaxy "Cartwheel". This galaxy was formed into its current unique shape by a collision with a smaller galaxy 100 million years ago.

As the smaller galaxy settled into the heart of the Cartwheel Galaxy, it began a period of intense star formation. The Chandra data show that X-rays are emitted from superheated gas and individual exploded stars, as well as from neutron stars and black holes that feed heavily on material from their companion stars.

BingMag.com James Webb’s masterpiece took on a new color with the help of X-ray data

Perhaps one of James Webb's most brilliant early images is of the galaxy cluster SMACS J0723, located 4.2 billion light-years from Earth. Adding Chandra data to these observations reveals gas that has been heated to tens of millions of degrees.

Clusters like SMACS J0723 host thousands of galaxies as well as vast reservoirs of super-hot gas. Scientists estimate that the gas discovered by James Webb and accompanied by Chandra has a total mass of about 100 trillion times that of the Sun, which is several times more than the mass of every star in every galaxy of this cluster.

However, still There is much more to see. The dark matter in this cluster has more mass than the gas, but because this mysterious part does not interact with light, it is not visible even with the combined power of James Webb and Chandra.

BingMag.com James Webb’s masterpiece took on a new color with the help of X-ray data

The quartet of new images is complemented by the Carina Nebula's cosmic rocks at the edge of the star-forming region NGC 3324, arguably the most stunning image in James Webb's first image collection.

Chandra's image of these cosmic rocks, which are about 7,600 light-years from Earth, shows more than ten X-ray sources, most of which are stars located in the outer region of a star cluster in the Carina Nebula. .

Between 1 and 2 million years old, these stars are cosmically very young and emit brighter X-rays than their older counterparts. Chandra data from this region is particularly useful for identifying young stars in the Carina Nebula and distinguishing them from older Milky Way stars that may be lurking in James Webb's line of sight.

Also in the upper half of the Chandra image, the enhancement Found in the Carina Nebula, X-ray radiation has been emitted, likely coming from hot gas from the most massive and hottest stars in the region, just outside the image's field of view.

James Webb During its operational lifetime, which was supposed to It will take five years, but could reach more than 20 years, working with other space instruments like Chandra, as well as with telescopes based here on Earth. The new images show just how important these collaborations will be to astronomy in the coming years.

Photos: James Webb's early science images combined with data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory
Credit: X-ray: NASA /CXC/SAO; IR (Spitzer): NASA/JPL-Caltech; IR (Webb): NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

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