You Have to Zoom in for a Full Minute to See the Galaxy in This Webb Telescope Video

The video, made from Webb Space Telescope observations, will make you feel really small.

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Webb’s first image of Cartwheel Galaxy was released on August 2.
Gif: Gizmodo/ESA/Webb

Space is big and scary, and a new video created from Webb Space Telescope data goes to show the massive distances separating us from the objects we’re trying to observe. In this case, it’s the Cartwheel Galaxy, one of Webb’s recent targets.

Webb has amazed us since the first full-color images from the observatory arrived in July. Early this month, NASA and its international partners released an incredible image of the Cartwheel Galaxy, a chaotic structure some 500 million light-years away from Earth, formed by the collision of two smaller galaxies.

Zoom into the Cartwheel Galaxy

The Cartwheel Galaxy is a stunning testament to Webb’s impressive optics. But a new video released by the European Space Agency show just how massively far away this thing is. The cinematic zoom-in shown here will make you feel really, absurdly, impossibly tiny.


“Webb’s observations capture Cartwheel in a very transitory stage. The form that the Cartwheel Galaxy will eventually take, given these two competing forces, is still a mystery. However, this snapshot provides perspective on what happened to the galaxy in the past and what it will do in the future,” said ESA in a press release.

The Cartwheel Galaxy formed when two galaxies collided, “like ripples in a pond after a stone is tossed into it,” as NASA describes it. The inner core consists of hot dust, and the brightest parts of the ring are home to gigantic clusters of young stars. The outer ring has been expanding for the last 440 million years, triggering star formation along the way as the outer ring slams into the gas surrounding it.


Webb is just getting started and could be operating for the next 20 years. It’ll show us the infrared universe like we’ve never seen it before.

More: Are the Colors in Webb Telescope Images ‘Fake’?