The most beautiful images of spiral galaxies from NASA's James Webb telescope released today: they will also be studied in Como

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Spiral galaxies

An international team of astronomers has used NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to obtain the highest resolution images ever taken in the infrared of spiral galaxies close to us.
These new images - which are publicly available from today - were made possible by the international collaboration Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby Galaxies (Phangs), supported by more than 150 astronomers from around the world.

Among the Phangs scientists is Mattia Sormani, who after ten years abroad is now a 'returning brain' in Italy: in spring he will take up his post at the University of Insubria, Department of Science and High Technology, Como campus, to study the transport of matter towards the centre of the Milky Way and the feeding of black holes, a project for which he won the Erc Starting Grant 2023, a €1.5 million European Research Council call for proposals. And the images released today by Nasa will also be the subject of in-depth study by the team to be formed in Como.

"It is very easy to be mesmerised by these spiral galaxies" reads the Space Telescope Science Institute press release. "One can follow their well-defined, star-filled spiral arms to their centres, where old star clusters and sometimes active supermassive black holes can be found. Only Nasa's James Webb Space Telescope is able to provide highly detailed scenes of nearby galaxies in a combination of near- and mid-infrared light, and a series of these images was made public today”.

"These incredible images reveal the movements of interstellar gas in spiral galaxies in unprecedented detail" comments Mattia Sormani "and will allow us to understand in much greater detail the matter flows that lead to the formation of new stars in these galaxies. In fact, the infrared wavelengths of the James Webb telescope allow us to see deep inside molecular clouds where new stars are being formed”.

The news published today at 4 p.m. on Nasa's Webb Space Telescope website and sent to the international press: