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Cosmic “Christmas Tree” dazzles in new image from the Hubble and Webb telescopes

A panorama of colliding galaxy clusters shines in a new image captured by the combined forces of the two most powerful space observatories ever created.

The cosmic phenomenon, called MACS0416 , is 4.3 billion light years from Earth. Eventually, the pair of merging giant clusters will combine to form an even larger collection of bright galaxies.

New details of the celestial feature emerged in the color image, which unites the observing powers of the Hubble Space Telescope in visible light and the James Webb Space Telescope in infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye.

Together, the renowned observatories present a more comprehensive view of the universe. Hubble has long been used to look for distant, faint galaxies in different wavelengths of light. Webb’s infrared gaze allows this search to occur at even greater distances, detecting invisible light deeper into the early days of the universe.

One light year, equivalent to 9.46 trillion kilometers, is the distance that a beam of light travels in one year. Given the distance between Earth and objects from the early universe, when telescopes like Webb observe this light, it is effectively like looking into the past.

“We are building on Hubble’s legacy by moving toward greater distances and fainter objects,” said Rogier Windhorst, regents professor at Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, in a statement.

Windhorst is the principal investigator for the PEARLS, or Prime Extragalactic Areas for Reionization and Lensing Science, program, which conducted the Webb observations.

A “Christmas tree” of galaxies

The colors in the new image, released on Thursday (9), are used to indicate distance. The blue-toned galaxies are the closest, full of star formation and easily seen in visible light by Hubble. Red galaxies are more distant, best detected by Webb in infrared light.

“The full picture is not clear until you combine the Webb data with the Hubble data,” Windhorst said.

See also: James Webb Telescope shares stunning images

Source: CNN Brasil

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