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Galactic high five! In the James Webb Space Telescope’s image of Stephan’s Quintet, we see 5 galaxies, 4 of which interact. (The left galaxy is actually much closer to us than the rest of the group!) These colliding galaxies are pulling and stretching each other in a gravitational dance. Webb will revolutionize our knowledge of star formation and gas interactions within: nasa.gov/webbfirstimages/
This mosaic, a composite of near and mid-infrared data, is Webb’s largest image to date, covering an area of the sky 1/5 of the Moon’s diameter (as seen from Earth). It contains more than 150 million pixels and is constructed from about 1,000 image files.
Image Description: A group of five galaxies that appear close to each other in the sky: two in the middle, one toward the top, one to the upper left, and one toward the bottom. Four of the five appear to be touching. One is somewhat separated. In the image, the galaxies are large relative to the hundreds of much smaller (more distant) galaxies in the background. All five galaxies have bright white cores. Each has a slightly different size, shape, structure, and coloring. Scattered across the image, in front of the galaxies are number of foreground stars with diffraction spikes: bright white points, each with eight bright lines radiating out from the center.
Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI