The James Webb telescope showed the hidden structures of the IC 5332 galaxy that the Hubble couldn't see

The James Webb telescope showed the hidden structures of the IC 5332 galaxy that the Hubble couldn't

A unique camera of the medium infrared range of the James Webb Space Telescope provided new data on the IC 5332 spiral galaxy, located 29 million light-years from Earth. The galaxy has a diameter of about 66,000 light-years and about a third less than the Milky Way, and is very convenient to observe with a space telescope, which is capable of examining its spiral sleeves in detail.

The MIRI is the only James Webb instrument that is sensitive to the medium infrared area of the spectrum. Other telescope instruments can only operate in the near infrared range. It is noteworthy that MIRI operates at a temperature of –266 °C, 33 °C lower than the rest of the space observatory. This means that the sensor operating temperature is only 7 degrees above absolute zero, otherwise the apparatus would not function correctly. There is a special system for active cooling of instruments.

The waves of the medium infrared area of the spectrum are extremely difficult to record from the Earth, as much of them are absorbed by the planet's atmosphere and the heat of the Earth's atmosphere adds to the complexity of observations. Moreover, the Hubble telescope is also unable to record radiation in this range, as its mirrors are not sufficiently cold and make significant observations.

A detailed image made in the medium infrared range is compared to the images taken by the Wide Field Camera 3 camera showing a more complex structure: ultraviolet and visible light are more diffused by interstellar dust than infrared dust; thus, dust clusters can easily be identified in Hubble images, which are darker areas where visible and ultraviolet light cannot penetrate.

However, in a picture of James Webb, these areas are not "dark" because infrared light passes through them. Various images show different stars, as some are more bright in ultraviolet or visible ranges and others in infrared. This complements the overall picture by providing more detailed information on the structure and composition of IC 5332.