NASA's James Webb captures extraordinary details of 'Pillars of Creation'
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) does it again! The space observatory has captured a stunning image, revealing intricate details of the historic 'Pillars of Creation,' which lies 6,500 light-years from Earth. What appeared to be a mere gaseous, dust-filled region is actually the place where stars are birthed. Evidently, there are vivid differences between the images captured by Hubble and Webb telescopes.
Why does this story matter?
- 'Pillars of Creation' region in Eagle Nebula was first imaged by the Hubble telescope in 1995, and later in 2014.
- Nevertheless, there is no match for the incredible Webb portrait. The sophisticated telescope is uniquely designed to probe into the distant universe and other galaxies.
- The latest image captures several significant details which might enhance our existing knowledge of stars and their formation mechanism.
Here's a closeup of the spectacular image captured by the Webb telescope
See the Pillars of Creation like never before!— NASA (@NASA) October 19, 2022
First made famous by @NASAHubble in 1995, @NASAWebb revisited this iconic part of the Eagle Nebula, revealing new details and hidden stars: https://t.co/Wkf0XXHTqh pic.twitter.com/JywEHyX1Bq
The portrait reveals distinct star-forming regions
Comparing the two telescopic images, the dusty 'pillars' appear opaque in Hubble's image while the Webb picture portrays them as semi-transparent. This is because JWST's near-infrared capacity allows it to shoot past the thick layers. Nevertheless, the main highlight is the 'bright red orbs' which lie outside one of the pillars in the Webb portrait. Scientists claim that this could be a star-forming region.
Galaxies have not been spotted in the Webb image
Sadly, no galaxies are visible in the Webb image since the interstellar medium, composed of sparse gas and dust, impedes our view of deeper parts of the universe. "When knots with sufficient mass form within the pillars of gas and dust, they begin to collapse under their own gravity, slowly heat up, and eventually form new stars," explains NASA in its official blogpost.
What are those red wavy lines at the pillar edges?
The red wavy lines at the pillar edges are "ejections from stars that are still forming within the gas and dust. Young stars periodically shoot out supersonic jets that collide with clouds of material, like these thick pillars," as per NASA. "The crimson glow comes from the energetic hydrogen molecules that result from jets and shocks."