Jellyfish have been on Earth for approximately 500 million years, making them the longest surviving creature on the planet. But now, NASA has a “jellyfish” of its own in space.
The government space agency said a “jellyfish”-like galaxy, known as ESO 137-001, with a tail made up of long gas stretching 260,000 light-years across space, is “swimming” into the view of the space agency’s forthcoming James Webb Telescope.
“Blue ribbons of young stars dangle from the galaxy’s disk like cosmic tentacles,” NASA said in the statement. “If you look at the galaxy in X-ray light, however, you will find a giant tail of hot gas streaming behind the galaxy. After launch, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will study ESO 137-001 to learn how the gas is being removed from the galaxy and why stars are forming within that gaseous tail.”
The James Webb Telescope is slated for launch in 2021. The “jellyfish” was first observed by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2014.
ESO 137-001 isn’t exactly close to Earth, even though it’s similar in appearance to the Milky Way galaxy. It’s approximately 220 million light-years away from our planet and is part of the Triangulum Australe constellation and is part of a galaxy cluster known as Abell 3627.