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The James Webb Telescope reveals a new view of the Pillars of Creation

The James Webb Telescope reveals a new view of the Pillars of Creation

Almost 30 years ago, the Pillars of Creation stunned the world of astronomy when they were photographed by NASAthe famous Hubble Space Telescope.

Now a new generation can enjoy a new view of the haunting scene after the US space agency’s $10bn (£7.4bn) James Webb SuperSpace Telescope captured the same finger-like tentacles of gas and dust.

Resembling a ghostly hand, the Pillars of Creation are part of the Eagle Nebula – which is 6,500 light-years from Earth – and are known to be a source of star formation.

This week, NASA and the European Space Agency revealed another look at the pillars from the keen eyes of the Webb.

Beautiful: Almost 30 years ago, the Pillars of Creation stunned the world of astronomy when they were imaged by NASA’s famous Hubble Space Telescope. Now a new generation can enjoy a new view of the haunting scene after the US space agency’s $10bn (£7.4bn) James Webb SuperSpace Telescope captured the same finger-like tentacles of gas and dust (pictured)

The first image of the Pillars of Creation was taken by Hubble in 1995. It provided the first evidence that stars can be born in the pillars

The first image of the Pillars of Creation was taken by Hubble in 1995. It provided the first evidence that stars can be born in the pillars

WHAT ARE THE PILLARS OF CREATION?

They are some of the most iconic space features ever captured on camera.

The Pillars of Creation were first imaged by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, then re-imaged in 2014.

Now, almost 30 years after we first saw the ghostly formation, it has been imaged again by NASA’s new James Webb SuperSpace Telescope.

The Pillars of Creation, located 6,500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Serpents, are part of the Eagle Nebula.

They are known to be an important source of star formation.

Gas and dust in the claw-like tentacles lead to the birth of stars, including many that are very young and some that have now been imaged that are only a few 100,000 years old.

In the 1995 Hubble image, the blue colors represent oxygen, the red is sulfur, and the green is nitrogen and hydrogen.

The pillars are bathed in searing ultraviolet light from a cluster of young stars located just outside the frame.

Winds from these stars slowly eat away at the towers of gas and dust.

The final image was taken in mid-infrared light, which blocks out the brightness of the stars, so it captures only the streaming gas and dust. This provided a new way to experience and understand the stunning formation.

Webb has instruments that see in different wavelengths of the infrared spectrum.

In October, experts released an image of the Pillars of Creation from the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam), before following it up with an image from its Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI).

Now they have stitched the images together to create a compelling image that incorporates the best of both views, showcasing glowing edges of dust where young stars are beginning to form.

NIRCam reveals newly formed stars in orange outside the pillars, while MRI shows the layers of dust within the formation.

“This is one reason the region is overflowing with stars — dust is a major ingredient of star formation,” NASA said.

The glowing red tip of the second pillar’s finger suggests active star formation, but the stars are just babies—NASA estimates them to be only a few 100,000 years old.

They take millions of years to fully form.

“By combining images of the iconic Pillars of Creation from two cameras aboard NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the universe is framed in its infrared glory,” Webb’s team wrote.

They said it “ignites this star-forming region in new detail”.

When clumps of gas and dust of sufficient mass form in the pillars, they begin to collapse under their own gravitational pull, slowly heating up and eventually forming new stars.

“Newly formed stars are particularly evident at the ends of the upper two pillars—they practically burst onto the scene,” Webb’s team said.

“Almost everything you see in this scene is local.

“The distant universe is largely blocked from our view by both the interstellar medium, which is made up of rarefied gas and dust interspersed between stars, and a dense streak of dust in our Milky Way galaxy.

“As a result, the stars are central to Webb’s view of the Pillars of Creation.”

The Pillars of Creation are found in the constellation Serpents.

New Superspace Telescope: Webb (pictured) has instruments that see in different wavelengths of the infrared spectrum

New Superspace Telescope: Webb (pictured) has instruments that see in different wavelengths of the infrared spectrum

In October, experts released an image of the Pillars of Creation from the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam)

In October, experts released an image of the Pillars of Creation from the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam)

They then followed that up with an image from its Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI)

They then followed that up with an image from its Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI)

This contains a young hot star cluster, NGC6611, visible with modest telescopes in the back of the garden, which sculpts and illuminates the surrounding gas and dust, resulting in a huge hollow and pillars, each several light-years long.

The 1995 Hubble image hinted at new stars being born in the pillars. Because of dust obscuration, Hubble’s visible-light picture was unable to see inside and prove that young stars were forming.

NASA then sent Hubble back for a second visit, which allowed them to compare the two shots.

Astronomers noticed changes in a jet-like feature shooting from one of the newborn stars in the columns.

The jet has lengthened by 60 billion miles in the time between observations, suggesting that the material in the jet is moving at about 450,000 miles per hour.

James Webb Telescope: NASA’s $10 billion telescope designed to detect light from the earliest stars and galaxies

The James Webb Telescope has been described as a “time machine” that could help unlock the secrets of our universe.

The telescope will be used to look back to the first galaxies born in the early universe more than 13.5 billion years ago and observe the sources of stars, exoplanets and even the moons and planets of our solar system.

The huge telescope, already worth more than $7 billion (£5 billion), is seen as the successor to the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope

The James Webb Telescope and most of its instruments have an operating temperature of approximately 40 Kelvin—about minus 387 Fahrenheit (minus 233 Celsius).

It is the largest and most powerful orbiting space telescope in the world, capable of peering back 100-200 million years after the Big Bang.

The orbiting infrared observatory is designed to be about 100 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA likes to think of James Webb as Hubble’s successor rather than a replacement, as the two will work in tandem for some time.

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990, by the Space Shuttle Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

It orbits the Earth at about 17,000 miles per hour (27,300 kilometers per hour) in a low-Earth orbit about 340 miles above sea level.

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