James Webb Space Telescope Feed Post

Date: 4/3/2024

M82 (NIRCam Image) | Webb

A team of astronomers used NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to survey the starburst galaxy Messier 82 (M82), which is located 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. M82 hosts a frenzy of star formation, sprouting new stars 10 times faster than the Milky Way galaxy. Webb’s infrared capabilities enabled scientists to peer through curtains of dust and gas that have historically obscured the star formation process. This image from Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) instrument shows M82’s center in an unprecedented level of detail. With Webb’s resolution, astronomers can distinguish small, bright compact sources that are either individual stars or star clusters. Obtaining an accurate count of the stars and clusters that compose M82’s center can help astronomers understand the different phases of star formation and the timelines for each stage. In this image, light at 2.12 microns is colored red, 1.64 microns is green, and 1.40 microns is blue (filters F212N, 164N, and F140M, respectively). Credit: STScI.