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HomeUncategorizedThe James Webb Space Telescope Captures 'The Pillars of Creation' With Unprecedented...

The James Webb Space Telescope Captures 'The Pillars of Creation' With Unprecedented Sharpness


The new view obtained by Webb, of extreme resolution and detail, will allow astronomers to advance towards a clearer understanding of the process of star formation.

NASA published this Wednesday the most recent image captured by the near infrared camera (NIRCam, for its acronym in English) from his James Webb telescope by focusing on a region of space known as The Pillars of Creation. In this area, located within the great Eagle Nebula, at 6.500 light-years from Earth, new stars form within dense clouds of fresh interstellar gas and dust, in the form of three-dimensional columns. As these clouds are semi-transparent in near-infrared light, the camera has captured images with an unprecedented level of detail, the US space agency reported.

In 1995, the Hubble Space Telescope, also from NASA, made famous Los Pillars of Creation with its first image in visible light. In the year 2020 he returned to take an image of that region, already broader and sharper, although always in visible light. At 2020, Hubble photographed it with its capturing instrument infrared and provided researchers with new details about this region, which is literally overflowing with stars.

Now, Webb’s new view of extreme resolution and detail will allow astronomers to gain a clearer understanding of how stars form and leave these clouds over the course of millions of years. They will also be able to renew their models of star formation, by identifying and accurately counting newly formed stars and quantifying the gas and dust in the area.

El telescopio espacial James Webb de la NASA capta una 'tarántula' cósmica gigante

A cradle of stars

When massive nodes form within pillars of gas and dust, these begin to amalgamate by gravity and slowly heat up to give birth to new stars. Newly formed stars are seen in the Webb image in bright red hues, which typically have diffraction spikes and are found outside of some of the dust pillars.

Wavy lines at the edges of some pillars, which look like lava in the image, are jets of plasma and matter from stars that are still forming within the gas and dust. Young stars, only a few hundred thousand years old, periodically launch these supersonic jets that crash into clouds of dense material, such as those in these thick pillars, sometimes causing shock waves, which can form wavy patterns. For its part, the crimson glow comes from the highly energetic hydrogen molecules produced by the jets and shock waves.

Nasa clarifies that, although it might appear in the image that near-infrared light has allowed Webb to “pass through” the clouds of dust and translucent gas, the area known as ‘the interstellar medium’, in the densest part of the Milky Way’s disk, blocks the view of the deeper universe.


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