NASA’s James Webb Osmic Telescope photographed the Pillars of Creation, where new stars are forming in dense clouds of gas and dust. These plumes consist of cold interstellar gas and dust that sometimes appear translucent in near-infrared light.
Webb’s new view of the Pillars of Creation, first made known when they were photographed by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, will help researchers update their star formation models by providing much more accurate counts of newly formed stars and the amount of gas and dust in the region. Over time, they will begin to build a clearer understanding of how stars form and erupt from these dust clouds over millions of years.
While it may appear that the near-infrared light allowed Webb to “break through” the clouds and reveal the vast cosmic distances behind the pillars, there are no galaxies in this image. Instead, a mixture of translucent gas and dust known as interstellar medium in the densest part of the disk of our Milky Way galaxy, blocks our view of the deeper universe.
This scene was first captured by Hubble Telescope in 1995 and reviewed in 2014, but many other observatories have also looked into this area. Each advanced instrument offers researchers new details about this region, which is practically overflowing with stars.
This image was taken within the vast Eagle Nebula, which lies 6,500 light-years away.