MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. — Author's note: The video above is on file from a separate story that aired on July 12, 2022.
The James Webb telescope was launched into orbit by NASA on December 25, 2021, and it has been providing stunning images of galaxies beyond our own ever since.
This galaxy is wondrous for several reasons, with the first being the fact that it's 500 million light years away from Earth. Now that's a journey.
It was formed as a result of a smaller galaxy colliding with a larger galaxy at an unfathomably high rate of speed.
Its creation is apparent in its structure: a bright inner ring is surrounded by a bright outer ring, with the galaxy expanding outwards in a manner that would be similar to ripples in a pond after a stone is thrown into it, according to NASA.
While the Hubble telescope, which is Webb's predecessor, was also able to observe this galaxy, these are the clearest images we have ever gotten due to Webb's infrared light technology that can see more clearly through cosmic dusts.
The Cartwheel Galaxy is classified as a ring galaxy by NASA, which means it is less common than spiral galaxies, like the Milky Way.
What an incredible development in space exploration!