Stephan’s Quintet: ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ — and a wonderful James Webb Space Telescope image!

A new image produced by the James Webb Space Telescope reveals new details of Stephan’s Quintet, the very first compact galaxy group ever discovered that was featured in the 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

I’m quite sure most readers of the column are familiar with the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” If you aren’t, it is a story about a fellow named George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) who wants to travel and do great things but ultimately ends up running a building-and-loan association in a small community, all while married and locked in a constant struggle with the greedy old banker of the town. And when it finally looks as though the banker is about to drive him to ruin, George decides to commit suicide, whereupon an angel, in the nick of time, intercedes and shows him, in whimsical fashion, what the town would have been like without him. The vision is so distressing that George begs the angel to return him to his hopeless situation, and now with boundless joy is saved, also in the nick of time, by the financial assistance of his friends. 



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