The James Webb Telescope captured Cartwheel Galaxy (ESO350-40), which is located approximately 500 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Sculptor. The photo also shows two of its smaller companion galaxies.
Named after a collision between a large spiral galaxies and a smaller one, the galaxy’s shape is not visible in this photo. The structure and shape of the “Wagon Wheel” was greatly affected by the collision between galaxies. Two rings form around the space object’s center of impact. This is similar to the way that ripples travel across water after a rock has fallen. Astronomers refer to the galaxy as a “ring galaxy” because of this.
The Cartwheel’s bright core contains large amounts of hot dust. Bright areas indicate the formation of young star clusters. The outer ring is expanding for approximately 440 million years. Supernovae are forming in this area. Star formation occurs when the ring expands and is pressed into surrounding gas.