Stockholm university

Barred spiral galaxy M83 captured using JWST by SU researchers

The James Webb telescope continues to capture spactacular images of spiral galaxies as part of Angela Adamos research at the Department of Astronomy. The most recent instalment is the galaxy M83.

Spiral galaxy with the arms glowing in orange light
The spiral galaxy M83 as seen by the MIRI instrument on JWST


Recently, Angela Adamo and her team at the Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University, released an observation of the galaxy M83 taken using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST, NASA/ESA/CSA). This observation shows the M83 barred spiral galaxy, where the two spiral arms and the galaxy core is visible in the centre of the image.

This observation was made in the mid-infrared part of the spectrum, allowing us to see colder material when compared to electromagnetic radiation with shorter wavelengths such as visible light or UV radiation. The observation was made using the JWST Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI) which samples molecules in the interstellar medium of the galaxy.The orange regions indicate the locations of carbon-based dust and gas. Bright spots can be seen along the arms of the galaxy which is a sign of star forming regions, i.e. regions where new stars are born. Dust is very hot near newly formed stars, and appears in yellow color in the image. When far away from massive stars, the dust is much colder and appears in redder colors.

The core, shining with a bright blue color, is illuminated due to the large distribution of stars in the region.

This wonderful observation is part of a series of observations with the name Feedback in Emerging extrAgalactic Star clusTers (FEAST). In late August, a similar observation of the spiral galaxy M51 was published. The M51 observation is part of a different dataset which was captured using the JWST Near-InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), with which one can see the light of the stars and the regions where new stars are formed. Read more about this observation here .


Both the M51 and M83 observations were dubbed Webb Picture of the Month for August and October, respectively.