Scientists explain bizarre ‘question mark’ in space spotted by Webb Space Telescope

The question mark-shape was captured by the James Webb Space Telescope - the largest, most powerful ever built - and scientists have been analyzing it.

by | Published on 10th Aug 2023

It’s quite ironic that a ‘question mark’ has been discovered in deep space.

After all, there remains a lot one unanswered questions for the scientists exploring the vastness of the universe.

But after spotting a bright, distinctive mark that clearly resembles the shape of a question mark, could the cosmos be teasing us?

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The image was captured by the James Webb Space Telescope, a $10 billion project involving NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency.

If you’re not familiar with what the telescope is, it’s the largest, most powerful space telescope ever built.

Basically, it allows scientists to look at what our universe was like about 200 million years after the Big Bang.

It’s used to observe objects in our solar system from Mars outward, and look inside dust clouds to see where new stars and planets are forming.

Scientists then spend time analysizing the images the telescope captures, which is what they’ve been doing with the question mark picture.

They believe the question mark image is likely a pair of galaxies merging together, with Webb’s perspective causing the event to take on the shape of the familiar punctuation mark. 

“It’s probably a distant galaxy, or potentially interacting galaxies [whose] interactions may have caused the distored question mark-shape,” the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) told

“Additional follow-up would be required to figure out what it is with any certainty,” it said, adding that this could well be the first time astronomers have seen a cosmic question mark. 

The image of the question mark was released by the Webb team at the end of June, however, it’s only just started receiving widespread attention.

If the question mark image isn’t the cosmos teasing us, perhaps it’s motivating us to keep on searching the depths of space for the secrets that it may reveal.



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Adam Gray is an experienced motoring journalist and content creator based in the United Kingdom. Using his media accreditation with motor manufacturers’ press offices, Adam test drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches, producing written reviews and news pieces for Before joining the Supercar Blondie team, Adam was Motoring Editor for Portfolio North magazine, North East Motoring Editor at Reach plc, and provided motoring content on a freelance basis to several lifestyle and business publications in the North of England. When he’s not behind the wheel of the latest car, Adam can be found at his local rink playing ice hockey or supporting his beloved Middlesbrough FC.

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