James Webb Chronicles Its Best Pillars Of Creation Image Yet

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James Webb Chronicles Its Best Pillars Of Creation Image Yet
Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

There have been many iconic space images taken over the years, but not all of them come close to Hubble Space Telescope’s images of the Pillars of Creation, taken in 1995 and 2014. The astonishing structure of gas and dust lies in the Eagle Nebula and forms stars within its clouds. Earlier this year, the powerful James Webb also set its crosshairs on the structure.

 

In October, James Webb Space Telescope captured images of the Pillar of Creation. The images were taken in both mid-infrared and near-infrared wavelengths. Now, both of the images have been merged to create a breathtaking new view of the beautiful structure.

Merging Wavelengths To Get Detailed Image

The new image merges data from JWST’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). The former highlights features such as the stars in the backdrop and the orange dots around the pillars that signify new star formation. The latter range highlights the dust layers which can be seen in colors ranging from orange to indigo according to their density

Combining wavelengths enable an image to showcase features that would otherwise be invisible. For instance, in JWST’s mid-infrared image of the structure, only a few stars are visible, while the near-infrared can’t isn’t able to pierce through the deep layers of dust to show any details.

Busy Region For Star Formation

The pillars’ dust makes them a busy region for stars to form, as new stars are born when dust forms into knots which attracts more material until they collapse under their own gravitational pull to become protostars.

As more and more material is drawn towards these cores, it gets hotter with friction, until finally, the protostar hits a sufficiently high core temperature that it starts fusing hydrogen and helium, spewing heat and light radiations, and become a main sequence star.

James Webb Vs Hubble

Previously, both Hubble and James Webb space telescopes captured the spiral galaxy IC 5332, located over 29 million light-years away from Earth. James Webb leveraged the MIRI instrument to observe the galaxy’s spiral arms. The image showed the galaxy in higher detail compared to the image taken from the Hubble Space Telescope.

However, there are times when both telescopes join hands for a project. Earlier, both space observatories set their crosshairs at the galaxy pair VV 191 to observe how light from the galaxy filters through the spiral arms of the galaxy on the right side. This image enabled astronomers to study the dust in the spiral galaxy.

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