James Webb Space Telescope Feed Post

Date: 4/3/2024

M82 (NIRCam Image) | Webb

Astronomers used the James Webb Space Telescope to look toward M82’s center, where a galactic wind is being launched as a result of rapid star formation and subsequent supernovas. Studying the galactic wind can offer insight into how the loss of gas shapes the future growth of the galaxy. This image from Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) instrument shows M82’s galactic wind via emission from sooty chemical molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs are very small dust grains that survive in cooler temperatures but are destroyed in hot conditions. The structure of the emission resembles that of hot, ionized gas, suggesting PAHs may be replenished by continued ionization of molecular gas. In this image, light at 3.35 microns is colored red, 2.50 microns is green, and 1.64 microns is blue (filters F335M, F250M, and F164N, respectively). Credit: STScI.