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The Webb and Hubble space telescopes join forces in detecting interstellar dust - "We got more than we expected"

A combination of photographs taken by the two large space telescopes in partially overlapping wavebands made it possible to identify new details about the role of interstellar dust in connections between neighboring galaxies

The overlapping galaxies -VV-191. Credit: Science: NASA, ESA, CSA, Rogier Windhorst (ASU), William Keel (University of Alabama), Stuart Wyithe (University of Melbourne), JWST PEARLS Team, Image Processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)
"We got more than we expected from combining the data from the two telescopes!" New data from Webb has allowed astronomers to trace the light emitted from the bright white elliptical galaxy on the left, through the spiral spiral galaxy on the right - and to detect the effects of interstellar dust in the spiral galaxy. This image of the galaxy pair, named VV 191, includes near-infrared light from the Hubble and visible and UV light from the Hubble. Credit: Science: NASA, ESA, CSA, Rogier Windhorst (ASU), William Keel (University of Alabama), Stuart Wyithe (University of Melbourne), JWST PEARLS Team, Image Processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

By combining data from the James Webb and Hubble space telescopes, researchers were able to detect light emitted from the Great White Elliptical Galaxy on the left through the spiral galaxy on the right. As a result, they were able to detect the effects of interstellar dust in the spiral galaxy. Webb's near-infrared data also shows us the long, very dusty spiral arms of the galaxy in much greater detail, and they appear to overlap with the central bulge of the bright white elliptical galaxy to the left. Although the galaxies are relatively close astronomically, there is no interaction between the two. In this image, green, yellow, and red have been assigned to Webb's near-infrared data taken at 0.9, 1.5, and 3.56 microns (F090W, F150W, and F356W, respectively). Blue was assigned to two Hubble filters, UV data taken at 0.34 microns (F336W) and visible light at 0.61 microns (F606W).

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The pair VV 191 is the latest addition to a small number of galaxies that help researchers directly compare the properties of galactic dust. This target was chosen from close to two thousand superimposed pairs of galaxies identified by the volunteers of the "Galaxy Zoo" citizen science project.

Dust changes the brightness and colors that appear in images of galaxies, so it is important to understand where the dust is in them. The dust grains are partially responsible for the formation of new stars and planets, so astronomers are always striving to detect their presence for further investigations.

The gravitational lens of the pair of galaxies VV-191 in a joint photograph by Hubble and Webb. Credit: Science: NASA, ESA, CSA, Rogier Windhorst (ASU), William Keel (University of Alabama), Stuart Wyithe (University of Melbourne), JWST PEARLS Team, Image Processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)
Scientists have identified a previously unknown dwarf galaxy for the first time in near-infrared data from the James Webb Space Telescope. Above the white elliptical galaxy on the left, a red arc appears in the 10 o'clock frame. This is a very distant galaxy whose appearance is distorted. Its light is bent by the gravity of the foreground elliptical galaxy. In addition, her appearance is duplicated. The stretched red arc is distorted when it appears - as a point - at 4 o'clock. The assignment of colors is as in the previous picture. and web. Credit: Science: NASA, ESA, CSA, Rogier Windhorst (ASU), William Keel (University of Alabama), Stuart Wyithe (University of Melbourne), JWST PEARLS Team, Image Processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

Like many images from the James Webb Space Telescope, this image of VV 191 shows additional galaxies deeper and deeper in the background. Two uneven spirals above the elliptical galaxy on the left appear to be similar in size, but appear in very different colors. One is probably very dusty and the other very distant, but astronomers will need to obtain spectral data to determine which is which.

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