December 7, 2022

Dawson County Journal

Dawson County, Nebraska

Webb telescope captures stunning image of Pillars of Creation

The James Webb Space Telescope has done it again, releasing another stunning image of the iconic Pillars of Creation. 

The Eagle Nebula landscape shows new stars forming 6,500 light-years away, amidst dense clouds of gas and dust. 

In the center, the three-dimensional pillars are made up of cool interstellar gas and dust, appearing semi-transparent in near-infrared light. 

The pillars were first made famous in 1995, thanks to images from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. 

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Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera view of the columns will help scientists revamp their models of star formation by identifying more precise counts of newly-formed stars. 

NASA said researchers would begin to build a clearer understanding of how stars form over millions of years.

Knots inside the pillars collapse under their own gravity, heating up and forming stars.

The new stars are bright red orbs, typically captured with diffraction spikes.

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In addition, the lava-like edges of the Pillars of Creation are ejections from the stars that are still forming, with supersonic jets colliding with clouds sometimes resulting in bow shocks that can form wavy patterns. 

The red glow comes from the resulting energetic hydrogen molecules.

The new stars seen in this image are estimated to be only a few hundred thousand years old.

There are no galaxies seen here, because the interstellar medium blocks the deeper universe.

This scene was initially revisited by Hubble in 2014.


Source: Science