New Pillars of Creation show the awesome power of NASA’s James Webb Telescope

NASA released a new image of the iconic Pillars of Creation on Wednesday, an updated and intricate view showing the massive power of the James Webb Space Telescope.

“The three-dimensional pillars look like majestic rock formations, but are much more permeable,” NASA wrote. “These columns are made of cold interstellar gas and dust that appear – sometimes – semi-transparent in the near infrared.”

The image was captured with Webb’s Near Infrared Camera, or NIRCam.

The region lies about 6,500 light-years away in the Eagle Nebula and was first captured by the Hubble Telescope in 1995 and again in 2014. The latest image, however, adds some startling new detail: the bright red orbs are newly formed stars, it is believed. only a few hundred thousand years old. The wavy lines that look like lava on the edge of some pillars are star ejections that are still forming.

“When nodes with sufficient mass form in the pillars of gas and dust, they begin to collapse under their own gravity, slowly warm up, and eventually form new stars,” NASA said. “Young stars periodically launch supersonic jets that collide with clouds of matter, like these thick pillars… The crimson glow comes from the energetic hydrogen molecules that result from the jets and collisions. This is evident in the second and third pillars from the top – the NIRCam image practically beats with their activity.

This image released by NASA on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 shows the Pillars of Creation, captured by the James Webb Space Telescope in near-infrared view. (NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI via AP)

The latest image doesn’t show any distant galaxies, unlike other shots from the James Webb Telescope. NASA said a mixture of translucent gas and dust called the interstellar medium resides in the Milky Way galaxy.

NASA said the new vision of the Pillars of Creation will help scientists reorganize models of star formation and, over time, allow astronomers to build “a clearer understanding of how stars form.” and erupt from these dusty clouds over millions of years”.

This combined image provided by NASA on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 shows the Pillars of Creation as imagined by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in 2014, left, and NASA's James Webb Telescope, right.  The new near-infrared light view from the James Webb Space Telescope is helping us see through more of the dust in the star-forming region, according to NASA.  (NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI via AP)
This combined image provided by NASA on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 shows the Pillars of Creation as imagined by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 2014, left, and NASA’s James Webb Telescope, right. The new near-infrared light view from the James Webb Space Telescope is helping us see through more of the dust in the star-forming region, according to NASA. (NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI via AP)

The image is the latest in a series of impressive snaps released by NASA in recent months. The space agency has released snapshots of the Cartwheel galaxy, about 500 million light-years from Earth, photos of Neptune and its rings, and images that allow humanity to see the early days of the universe.

The side-by-side photo released by NASA of the Pillars on Wednesday shows the power of the $10 billion project.

“By popular demand, we had to do the pillars of creation with #JWST,” Klaus Pontoppidan, a James Webb Project astronomer, wrote on Twitter. “The nebula, M16, is located exactly in the plane of the Milky Way; there are so many stars!

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