(ORDO NEWS) — The James Webb Space Telescope has captured the iconic “Pillars of Creation,” huge structures of gas and dust teeming with stars, NASA said Wednesday.
The twinkling of thousands of stars illuminates the giant gold, copper and brown columns. At the ends of several pillars are bright red, lava-like spots.
“These are ejecta from stars that are still forming,” NASA said in a statement. “Young stars periodically throw out jets that collide with clouds of matter like these thick pillars.”
The Pillars of Creation are located 6,500 light-years from Earth, in the Eagle Nebula in the Milky Way galaxy. They became known thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, which first captured them in 1995 and again in 2014 (pictured left).
The image, covering an area of about eight light-years, was taken by NIRCam’s Webb instrument, which captures near-infrared wavelengths invisible to the human eye.
The colors of the image were “translated” into visible light.
According to NASA, the new image “will help researchers update their star formation models by determining more accurately the number of newly formed stars, as well as the amount of gas and dust in the region.”
James Webb is the most powerful space telescope to date. One of the main goals of the $10 billion telescope is to study the life cycle of stars. The other main focus of his research is exoplanets.
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