March 1, 2024

Webb Space Telescope reveals “mind-blowing” structure in 19 nearby spiral galaxies

This collection of 19 spiral galaxies viewed head-on by the James Webb Space Telescope in near- and mid-infrared light is both overwhelming and awe-inspiring. “Webb’s new images are extraordinary,” said Janice Lee, project scientist for strategic initiatives at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. “They are mind-blowing even for researchers who have been studying these same galaxies for decades. Bubbles and filaments are resolved on the smallest scales ever observed and tell a story about the star formation cycle.” Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Janice Lee (STScI), Thomas Williams (Oxford), PHANGS team, Elizabeth Wheatley (STScI)

A new treasure trove of Webb images has arrived! Near- and mid-infrared images show every facet of these spiral galaxies.

Humanity has spent centuries mapping Earth’s features – and we often repeat the process using more advanced instruments. When we combine the data, we get a more complete understanding of our planet.

Now look out into space. Astronomers have observed spiral galaxies up close and head-on for decades. Space and ground-based telescopes have contributed to a cache of data in wavelengths ranging from radio to ultraviolet light. Astronomers have long planned to use Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 628

James Webb Space Telescope observation of the forward spiral galaxy, NGC 628. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Janice Lee (STScI), Thomas Williams (Oxford), PHANGS Team

Webb Space Telescope Pictures Stunning Structure in 19 Nearby Spiral Galaxies

It’s so easy to become absolutely mesmerized by these spiral galaxies. Follow their clearly defined, star-studded arms to their centers, where ancient star clusters and – sometimes – active supermassive black holes may exist. Only NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope can provide highly detailed scenes of nearby galaxies in a combination of near- and mid-infrared light – and a set of these images was released publicly today.

These Webb images are part of a large, long-running project, the Physics at High Angular Resolution in Near GalaxieS (PHANGS) program, which is supported by more than 150 astronomers around the world. Before Webb took these images, PHANGS was already packed with data from the NASA satellite Webb Spiral Galaxy IC 5332

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy IC 5332

Hubble spiral galaxy IC 5332

Hubble’s view of the Spiral Galaxy IC 5332

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 628

Webb’s view of Galaxy NGC 628

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 628

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 628

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1087

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 1087

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 1087

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 1087

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1300

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 1300

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 1300

Hubble’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 1300

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1365

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 1365

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 1365

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 1365

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1385

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 1385

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 1385

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 1385

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1433

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 1433

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 1433

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 1433

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1512

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 1512

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 1512

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 1512

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1566

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 1566

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 1566

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 1566

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 1672

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 1672

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 1672

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 1672

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 2835

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 2835

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 2835

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 2835

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 3351

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 3351

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 3351

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 3351

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 3627

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 3627

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 3627

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 3627

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 4254

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 4254

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 4254

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 4254

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 4303

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 4303

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 4303

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 4303

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 4321

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 4321

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 4321

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 4321

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 4535

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 4535

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 4535

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 4535

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 5068

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 5068

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 5068

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 5068

Webb Spiral Galaxy NGC 7496

Webb’s view of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 7496

Hubble spiral galaxy NGC 7496

Hubble’s view of the spiral galaxy NGC 7496

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and investigating the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (

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