NASA shared images of the Pillars of Creation taken with the James Webb Space Telescope. These “pillars” are vast collections of stars-filled gas and dust.
NASA’s James Webb telescope captures ‘Pillars of Creation’
The final image is just as stunning as you would expect it to be.
NASA and the European Space Agency shared it on Wednesday, 19 October 2022. The cosmic close-up shows the pillars’ distinctive three-finger shape in never before seen detail. Notably, the details include red squiggles at the tips of several pillars that stand in for supersonic jets of matter erupting from young stars.
“Journey with us through the James Webb Space Telescope’s breathtaking view of the Pillars of Creation, where scores of newly formed stars glisten like dewdrops among floating, translucent columns of gas and dust,” NASA wrote in the caption of their post.
Beyond its outward appearance, the image also reveals many undiscovered, recently formed stars in and around the gas clouds. According to the NASA website, astronomers can precisely count the number of stars and amounts of gas in the region.
This was made possible through the improved view of the famous pillars. Furthermore, it will help astronomers improve their models of star formation.
The pillars are 6 500 lightyears away from Earth and located in the Eagle Nebula. Pillars of Creation rose to fame in 1995 after the Hubble Space Telescope first recognised their beauty. They have been compared to castles in the sky, cosmic stalagmites, or glimpses of a deep-space coral reef.
In addition, the pillars are the last remaining gas clumps in a once enormous hydrogen cloud, which was slowly eroded away by the powerful radiation of massive newborn stars.
This most recent image slices through the hazy, brown gas and dust to reveal stars in their pre-main-sequence phase, unlike the original 1995 image, which was updated in 2014 for a shaper image that showed additional objects and more visible light.
Truly, the Pillars of Creation are still among the most recognisable objects in the night sky. Even with each new telescope observation, a little bit more gas is being removed from their edges, and their beauty is gradually fading.
The public reacts to ‘Pillars of Creation’
The public took to social media to share their thoughts on the image of the “Pillars”. Here’s what they had to say: