NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured lush and highly detailed landscapes of a region, the famous Pillars of Creation, where new stars form within thick clouds of gas and dust. The 3D pillars look like majestic rock formations, but they are much more porous. These plumes consist of fresh interstellar gas and dust that are sometimes translucent in near-infrared light.
New Pillars of Creation webview – first made public when taking pictures With NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 1995It will help researchers renew their models of star formation by determining more accurate numbers of newly formed stars, along with the amounts of gas and dust in the region. Over time, scientists will begin to develop a clearer understanding of how stars form and emerge from these dusty clouds over millions of years.
Newly formed stars take center stage in this image from a near-infrared webcam (NIRCam). These are bright red orbs that usually have diffraction spikes and are located outside a plume of dust. When a sufficiently massive knot forms inside the gas and dust plumes, they begin to collapse under their own gravity, slowly heat up, and eventually form new stars.
And what about those wavy, lava-like lines on the edges of some columns? These are ejecta from stars that are still forming inside the gas and dust. Young stars periodically release hypersonic jets that collide with clouds of material, such as these thick plumes. This also sometimes causes shock waves, which can form undulating patterns like a ship moving through the water. The crimson glow comes from energetic hydrogen molecules produced by jets and shock waves. This is evident in the second and third pillars from above: the NIRCam image is practically buzzing with activity. These young stars are estimated to be only a few hundred thousand years old.
Although near-infrared light may appear to have allowed Webb to “penetrate” the clouds to reveal vast cosmic distances outside the plumes, there are no galaxies in this view. Instead, a mixture of transparent dust and gas known as the interstellar medium in the densest part of the disk of our Milky Way obscures our view of the innermost universe.
This scene was first captured by Hubble in 1995 s Visited again in 2014, but many other observatories have also looked closely at this area. Each advanced tool provides researchers with new details about this region, which is literally teeming with stars.
This highly cropped image is located within the Great Eagle Nebula, which is 6,500 light-years away.
Download the full, uncompressed version of the file Webb . near infrared imagesupporting images, Comparison of Hubble Images and the Webs Web image video tour From the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).
The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb will solve the mysteries of our solar system, see beyond the distant worlds around other stars, and explore the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners: the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
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