The James Webb Space Telescope captured the dark side of the Pillars of Creation 6,500 light-years away in the Eagle Nebula, reports CNN.
Last week, the space observatory released a glowing infrared image of the iconic towers made of interstellar dust and gas, glowing with young stars.
The three-dimensional structures are massive as seen, about 5 light-years in diameter. (A light year is about 9.46 lakh crore km).
In Webb’s latest image, which captured the iconic feature in mid-infrared light, the gray, “ripe” dust resembles a twisted tangle of ghostly shapes hurtling through the universe, writes CNN. The stars are obscured by dust, but some of them pierce the darkness with red light.
This is a new perspective on the skyscape first observed by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995 and 2014.
Infrared light is invisible to the human eye, and Webb is our detective who can spy on hidden aspects of the universe, explains the American television station. The new image, taken by Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument, or MIRI, captures more detail about the dust and structure of the pillars.
Although thousands of stars have formed within the pillars, and they usually shine as the central element, their starlight cannot be detected in the mid-infrared. Instead, MIRI spies only the youngest stars that haven’t lost their dust and shine like rubies in the picture. Meanwhile, the blue stars in the scene represent older stars that have lost their layers of gas and dust.
The web’s mid-infrared capability can reveal details of gas and dust in and around the pylons. In the background of the image, dense dust clouds are shown in gray, while the red, horizon-like region is inhabited by cooler, more diffuse dust.
Unlike Webb’s recent images, none of the background galaxies glow in the background because their distant light cannot penetrate.
A mid-infrared view of the pillars of creation will allow researchers to better understand the star formation process over millions of years in this stellar nursery.
Other telescopes, including the Spitzer Space Telescope, have observed the poles at different wavelengths of light. Each new view of the iconic scene reveals new aspects, more detail and precise measurements of gas, dust and stars, allowing for a better understanding of this stunning region.
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