NASA’s Hubble Telescope Discovers Curious “Jellyfish Galaxy” 800 Million Light Years Away

NASA's Hubble Telescope captured an amazing image of JW100, a "jellyfish galaxy" with streams of star-forming gas, located 800 million light years away.

Every corner of the universe remains a mystery to the human race, so every discovery carries an explanation that moves what we see to a more familiar plane. That is why the latest discovery by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has left everyone perplexed by the strange figure that astronomers found. They nicknamed it “stellar jellyfish,” but it is a curious galaxy identified as JW100.

The Hubble Space Telescope discovered it

The amazing image was taken by one of the most renowned space telescopes of modern astronomy that orbits outside the Earth’s atmosphere, NASA’s Hubble. It is in a circular orbit around Earth at 593 kilometers above sea level, with an orbital period between 96 and 97 minutes. Thanks to its constant rotation, it discovered the “jellyfish galaxy.” And the fact is that the streams of star-forming gas that drip the disk of the stellar cluster as if they were “streaks of fresh paint” are formed by a process called ram pressure detachment, which gives it its peculiar shape.

As we can see in the image, the galaxy seems to shed "threads" like the tentacles of a jellyfish, hence the name. PHOTO: NASA
As we can see in the image, the galaxy seems to shed “threads” like the tentacles of a jellyfish, hence the name. PHOTO: NASA

In fact, astronomers found the hanging tentacles” very extravagant, and as everything in the universe never ends up being ordinary, they named JW100 the “jellyfish galaxy,” which is located more than 800 million light-years away, in the constellation of Pegasus. We should clarify that the removal of ram pressure occurs when galaxies encounter the diffuse gas that permeates galaxy clusters.

As galaxies push their way through this tenuous gas, this acts like a headwind, removing gas and dust from the galaxy and creating the streamers that adorn JW100. On the other hand, the bright elliptical patches in the image are other galaxies in the cluster that hosts JW100. Toward the top of this image are two bright spots surrounded by a remarkably bright area of diffuse light.

To explain it, astronomers clarified that this is the nucleus of IC 5338, the brightest galaxy in the cluster. IC 5338 is an elliptical galaxy with an extended halo, a type of galaxy called a cD galaxy. And these galaxies are likely to grow by consuming smaller ones, so it is not unusual for them to have multiple cores, as it can take a long time to absorb them. They also detailed that the bright points of light that stud the galaxy’s outer fringes are a rich population of globular star clusters.

Finally, NASA shared with us that this observation took advantage of Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and its capabilities. The data are part of a sequence of observations designed to explore star formation in the tendrils of jellyfish galaxies. These tendrils represent star formation under extreme conditions and could help astronomers better understand the process of their creation and management elsewhere in the universe.