The spiral galaxy NGC 7469 imaged by the James Webb Space Telescope for the Great Observatories All-sky LIRGs Survey (GOALS).

James Webb Space Telescope spots mesmerizing wreath-like galaxy

Some 220 million light-years away, nestled in the constellation Pegasus, spiral galaxy NGC 7469 whirls around an active galactic nucleus (AGN). It’s one of the more well-studied galaxies in our universe, but the James Webb Space Telescope has just produced one of the most detailed photos of the wreath-shaped galaxy ever seen.

Because NGC 7469 faces us head-on, astronomers can observe its entire 90,000-light-year span. Of particular interest is its AGN, the bright region at its center where dust and gas light up as they’re consumed by the galaxy’s supermassive black hole. The structure isn’t uncommon, but what is unusual is that NGC 7469 has a starburst ring just 1,500 light-years from the AGN — an exceptionally close distance.

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