The universe just got even more heady...
On Monday, NASA scientists unveiled a stunning new photo (see above!) taken by the James Webb Telescope of M74, a galaxy 32 million light-years away composed of 100 billion stars.
Its gargantuan spiral arms are incredible to behold, but its low brightness always made it notoriously hard for astronomers to visualize, earning it the nickname “Phantom Galaxy.”
No longer! Webb’s high infrared resolution and sensitivity allow it to capture old, distant, faint galaxies in far greater detail than the now-dethroned Hubble Space Telescope.
Most importantly: this image discredits long-held beliefs on the origins of our universe.
For decades, experts thought "early" galaxies like M74 (those much older than our own, the Milky Way) were small, chaotic, misshapen systems. But the Webb-captured pic shows them to be surprisingly huge, balanced, and well-formed.
"We thought the early universe was a chaotic place with all these clumps of star formation and things are a-jumble," Astronomer Dan Coe exclaimed. "Turns out it wasn't."
Bottom line: Webb will totally re-write our understanding of space - far out!