Webb’s Stunning Collection of 19 Face-On Spiral Galaxies 

 Webb’s Stunning Collection of 19 Face-On Spiral Galaxies 

This collection of 19 face-on spiral galaxies from the James Webb Space Telescope in near- and mid-infrared light is at once overwhelming and awe-inspiring.

“Webb’s new images are extraordinary,” said Janice Lee, a project scientist for strategic initiatives at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. “They’re mind blowing even for researchers who have studied these same galaxies for decades. Bubbles and filaments are resolved down to the smallest scales ever observed, and tell a story about the star formation cycle.”

Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) captured millions of stars in these images. Older stars appear blue here, and are clustered at the galaxies’ cores. 

The telescope’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument) observations highlight glowing dust, showing where it exists around and between stars – appearing in shades of red and orange. Stars that haven’t yet fully formed and are encased in gas and dust appear bright red.

Webb’s high-resolution images are the first to show large, spherical shells in the gas and dust in such exquisite detail. These holes may have been created by stars that exploded and carved out giant regions in the interstellar material.

Another eye-catching detail? Several galaxy cores are awash in pink-and-red diffraction spikes. These are clear signs that these galaxies may have central active supermassive black holes or central star clusters.

These spiral galaxies are Webb’s first big batch of contributions to the Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby GalaxieS (PHANGS) program, that includes existing images and data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, the Very Large Telescope’s Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE), and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). With Webb’s images, researchers can now examine these galaxies in ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and radio light.

Explore side-by-side images of Webb and Hubble’s views of these 19 galaxies.



NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Janice Lee (STScI), Thomas Williams (Oxford), PHANGS Team


Elizabeth Wheatley (STScI)

About The Object
Object Description PHANGS Galaxies
About The Data
Data Description This image was created with Webb data from proposal: (J. Lee). Image Processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI).
Instrument NIRCam, MIRI
Filters F2100W, F1130W, F1000W, F770W, F360M, F335M, F300M
About The Image
Color Info This image is a composite of separate exposures acquired by the James Webb Space Telescope using the NIRCam and MIRI instruments. Several filters were used to sample specific wavelength ranges. The color results from assigning different hues (colors) to each monochromatic (grayscale) image associated with an individual filter. In this case, the assigned colors are:   Red = F2100W + F1130W + F1000W + F770W
Green = F770W + F360M
Blue = F335M + F300M
About The Object
Object Name A name or catalog number that astronomers use to identify an astronomical object.
Object Description The type of astronomical object.
R.A. Position Right ascension – analogous to longitude – is one component of an object's position.
Dec. Position Declination – analogous to latitude – is one component of an object's position.
Constellation One of 88 recognized regions of the celestial sphere in which the object appears.
Distance The physical distance from Earth to the astronomical object. Distances within our solar system are usually measured in Astronomical Units (AU). Distances between stars are usually measured in light-years. Interstellar distances can also be measured in parsecs.
Dimensions The physical size of the object or the apparent angle it subtends on the sky.
About The Data
Data Description
  • Proposal: A description of the observations, their scientific justification, and the links to the data available in the science archive.
  • Science Team: The astronomers who planned the observations and analyzed the data. "PI" refers to the Principal Investigator.
Instrument The science instrument used to produce the data.
Exposure Dates The date(s) that the telescope made its observations and the total exposure time.
Filters The camera filters that were used in the science observations.
About The Image
Image Credit The primary individuals and institutions responsible for the content.
Publication Date The date and time the release content became public.
Color Info A brief description of the methods used to convert telescope data into the color image being presented.
Orientation The rotation of the image on the sky with respect to the north pole of the celestial sphere.