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New Picture Shows the Pillars of Creation

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Pillars of Creation | Image by NASA and STScI

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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope captured an image on Monday of the renowned Pillars of Creation.

NASA first caught sight of them in 1995 with their Hubble Telescope and later again in 2014.

The Webb telescope got a much better view of the pillars. In the older images, they looked darker and more opaque, but in the new images, the telescope caught sight of thousands of the stars making up the pillars.

The Pillars of Creation lie around 6,500 lightyears from Earth and are made up of clouds of gas and dust, Inside the clouds, new stars can form from the gas and dust knotting together, which then begin to collapse, heat up, and create a star.

The Pillars of Creation derive their name from an 1857 sermon by famous Christian evangelist Charles Spurgeon. In the message, Spurgeon referred to Jesus Christ as “he who created all things, and bears up the pillars of creation.”

In the new pictures from the Webb telescope, it is possible to spot the newly formed stars, which appear as bright red spots right outside the pillars. The wavy lines seen around the edges of the pillars are “ejections” produced by the stars in the process of forming.

While stars are forming, they can “periodically shoot out supersonic jets that collide with clouds of material, like these thick pillars,” according to NASA. These jets can cause “bow shocks,” which appear as wavy lines.

“Although it may appear that near-infrared light has allowed Webb to ‘pierce through’ the clouds to reveal great cosmic distances beyond the pillars, there are no galaxies in this view,” NASA explained. “Instead, a mix of translucent gas and dust known as the interstellar medium in the densest part of our Milky Way galaxy’s disk blocks our view of the deeper universe.”

These images, while beautiful, will also be helpful to NASA, allowing researchers to study the development and formation of new stars in the pillars.     

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