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JWST infrared and Chandra X-ray composite image of Stephan's Quintet
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; IR (Spitzer): NASA/JPL-Caltech; IR (Webb): NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI


The Quintet

Stephan's Quintet is a visually stunning close group of five galaxies, discovered by the French astronomer Édouard Jean-Marie Stephan in 1877. Four of the five galaxies which make up Stephan's Quintet are physically close, so close that they interact with each other, perhaps merging one day. The fifth is an interloper, a foreground galaxy about one-seventh the distance of the other four. The four neighbors provide astronomers with an interesting snapshot of how galaxies grow and evolve by interacting and merging. The image above shows the early-release science image of Stephan's Quintet from JWST. The JWST image (red, orange, yellow, green, blue) shows new details of the galactic interactions, like sweeping tails of stripped gas, and bursts of star formation. The image above also shows a high-resolution image of X-ray emission from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (in cyan). The Chandra X-ray image highlights the high-energy shock waves produced as one galaxy passes through another, producing superhot, X-ray emitting gas at tens of millions of degrees.
Published: November 21, 2022


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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!
Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Monday, 28-Nov-2022 12:11:55 EST