The famous Pillars of Creation are one of the most impressive cosmic formations that any telescope has managed to capture. In 1995, Hubble first photographed them in all their splendor. Today, almost three decades later, James Webb has done the same and offers us a new look at this already impressive cloud of interstellar gas and dust..
NASA was responsible for distributing the images through their website. From here we are already warned that this is not “the ethereal landscape of tombs forgotten by time. They are not elongated sooty fingers.” These are “pillars” of gas and dust, full of forming stars whose processes have been active for millennia.
Now James Webb has allowed NASA to reveal more details about the Pillars of Creation. Thanks to the mid-infrared (MIRI) and near-infrared (NIRCam) telescope cameras, it was possible to see a new view of the landscape, which we already knew in advance.
This is what the Pillars of Creation look like under the cameras of James Webb
At about 6,500 light-years from Earth, the Pillars of Creation remain one of the most active star formations in the Eagle Nebula. For the first time in its history, NASA has filmed some of these areas with emerging stars inside..
Until, dense clouds of dust and gas prevented scientists from observing most of the stars inside the nebula. The reason is that these materials absorb most of the visible light from stars, preventing them from being visible at such great distances.
NASA prepared James Webb well enough for this. Thanks to his NIRCam camera, he was able to observe the infrared light emitted by celestial bodies. able to most successfully cross these nebulous formations in space (unlike its visible counterpart). Thus, today they offer a much more detailed look at the structural composition of the Pillars of Creation.
What does the cover image mean?
Subsequently, James Webb decided to use his MIRI viewer. This works in the mid-infrared, so in this case the protagonists are not stars. With MIRI, James Webb rather offers a detailed look at the clouds that make up a celestial body, limiting the number of stars to those young ones that are still in their dust bubbles.
In the image you find at the beginning of this post, you will observe denser dust zones, which are reflected in darker gray. Meanwhile, the red areas at the top are where the dust is most scattered and coldest.
The Pillars of Creation have titanic dimensions. So much so that, to get an idea, NASA asks us to look at the star that stands out at the bottom of the tallest pillar. Said star and its dust cover is larger than our entire solar system..
Source: Hiper Textual