A gaggle of galaxies crackle with intricate detail in new images from the James Webb Space Telescope. JWST’s sharp infrared eyes are revealing how newborn stars shape their surroundings, giving hints to how stars and galaxies grow up together.
“We were just blown away,” says Janice Lee, an astronomer at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She and more than 100 astronomers reported on scientists’ first look at these galaxies with JWST in a special February issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Before JWST launched in December 2021, Lee and her colleagues selected 19 galaxies that, if observed with the telescope, they thought could reveal new details of the life cycles of stars (SN: 1/24/22). These galaxies are relatively close, within 65 million light-years of the Milky Way, and all have different types of spiral structures. The team had observed the galaxies with many observatories, but parts