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James Webb Vs Hubble: Both Telescopes Set Crosshair On Same Target
The Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope are two of the most powerful telescopes reaching the most distant corners of the cosmos to observe never-seen-before objects. While the former peers through the universe in the visible light wavelength, James Webb does it in the infrared range which is beyond what humans can see.
It is also very common for these space observatories to observe the same object or a cosmic phenomenon. However, due to their different wavelengths, different features of an object are revealed. Well, their recent images of the spiral galaxy IC 5332 are a testament to it. It is located more than 29 million light-years away from Earth.
Spiral Galaxy In Its Full Glory
The spiral galaxy IC 5332 is only one-third of the size of our Milky Way galaxy; however, it makes an ideal target for scientists due to its perfect spiral from the telescopes’ point of view.
James Webb leveraged its MIRI instrument to chronicle the skeletal-like structure of the IC 5332 galaxy’s spiral arms. The image shows the galaxy in a much higher detail compared to what the legendary Hubble Space Telescope captured.
Hubble’s image shows cosmic dust as dark patches that aren’t letting the light pass through the galaxy’s arms.
What Sets The Images Apart?
The ESA Webb website also allows you to compare both images and see the differences and similarities. The main reason behind the galaxy appearing different in visible and infrared light is due to the cosmic dust spread across it.
“Ultraviolet and visible light are far more prone to being scattered by interstellar dust than infrared light. Therefore dusty regions can be identified easily in the Hubble image as the darker regions that much of the galaxy’s ultraviolet and visible light has not been able to travel through. Those same dusty regions are no longer dark in the Webb image, however, as the mid-infrared light from the galaxy has been able to pass through them,” ESA explained.
James Webb Hit With Technical Issue
While the James Webb Space Telescope is every astronomer’s dream come true, the space observatory has been hit with a technical glitch. One of its 17 instrument modes is unable to function as intended. While NASA is investigating the problem, it’s unsure if the problem will persist.
The space agency will soon decide on how it will tackle the situation and fix the instrument, so the issue doesn’t spread to other modes in the space observatory. Despite the slight hiccup, the telescope is leaving astronomers in awe with all its observations of the cosmos.