The NASA observatory most interested in the eagle has done it again. TheHe returned an image of the famous “pillars of creation” in infrared light, the sharpest and most detailed image of the stunning star-forming region ever.
The ethereal landscape captures translucent columns of cold interstellar gas and dust punctuated by piercing bright points of light. Most of them are stars, and the red fireballs near the edges of the pillars are newly formed stars, According to NASA.
Don’t confuse these with the deep red magma-like regions along the inner periphery of some plumes. This is caused by the turbulence of stars still forming and shooting jets of supersonic material into space where they collide with other matter. In short, this is what cosmic chaos looks like.
Fortunately, these epic explosions and cosmic collisions are far away, at a distance of about 6,500 light-years from Earth.
This region of the universe first achieved fame in 1995 when it was imaged by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble conducted a follow-up campaign in 2014, and several other observatories have trained their lenses on the region within the Eagle Nebula.
Comparing the new image alongside Hubble’s view of the cosmic phenomenon reveals how Webb’s infrared instrument is able to look through the curtains of dust and gas covering the scene.
NASA and astronomers around the world will be looking for images like this and more data from Webb to get a better understanding of the star formation process.
For the rest of us, it’s eye candy just in time for Halloween.
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