Dozens of newly formed stars shimmer like dewdrops amid floating, translucent plumes of gas and dust in the first James Webb photo of the Pillars of Creation .
The James Webb Space Telescope has captured a lush and highly detailed landscape, the iconic Pillars of Creation , where stars form within dense clouds of gas and dust.
In this mid-infrared version of light, the three-dimensional pillars look like majestic rock formations, but they are much more permeable. These plumes are made up of cold interstellar gas and dust that sometimes appear semi-transparent in near-infrared light, NASA explains in a statement.
What did James Webb find again?
Webb’s new view of the Pillars of Creation , first made famous when they were imaged by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, will help researchers revamp their models of star formation by identifying much larger counts. precise numbers of newly formed stars, along with the amounts of gas and dust in the region.
Over time, they will begin to develop a clearer understanding of how stars form and how they erupt from these dust clouds over millions of years.
Newly formed stars are the ‘scene stealers’ in this image from Webb’s Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam). These are the bright red orbs that normally have diffraction spikes and are found outside of one of the dusty pillars. When knots of sufficient mass form within the pillars of gas and dust, they begin to collapse under their own gravity, slowly heating up and eventually forming new stars.
What about those wavy lines that look like lava on the edges of some pillars? These are ejections from stars that are still forming within the gas and dust. Young stars periodically launch supersonic jets that collide with clouds of material, such as these thick pillars. This also sometimes results in bow shocks, which can form undulating patterns like a boat does when moving through the water.
The crimson glow comes from energetic hydrogen molecules that result from the jets and crashes. This is evident in the second and third pillars from the top: the NIRCam image practically pulses with your activity. These young stars are estimated to be only a few hundred thousand years old.