New NASA Image of Pillars of Creation Is Appropriately Haunting

Pillars of Creation
NASA

NASA is one of the few organizations in the world to make headlines for releasing better versions of old photos. That doesn’t work for most people when posting new photos from their trip to the Poconos or something.

But if it’s the pillars of creation, it’s usually justified, even if the photos are only about a week apart. Recently, the Webb Telescope used its Near-Infrared Camera to release a sharper, more detailed image of the area with a view peering through much of the space dust that normally obscures the area.

Like a photographer changes the setting of a camera, NASA then switched to the mid-infrared instrument. This helps illuminate the dust obscuring the scene, according to NASA.

And while mid-infrared light specializes in detailing dust, the stars at these wavelengths aren’t bright enough to appear. Instead, these looming lead-colored pillars of gas and dust glisten at their edges, hinting at the activity within.” NASA states:.

In this view, the eerie blue gas and dust take precedence and the stars disappear almost completely from view. It gives the appearance of a great ghostly hand that looks like it’s bringing stars to life (or at least doing really elaborate card tricks).

That’s kind of what happens. Thousands of stars have formed in the pillars, using dust as the basic ingredient for the recipe.

“Many stars are actively forming in these dense blue-gray pillars. When knots of gas and dust of sufficient mass form in these regions, they begin to collapse under their own gravity, slowly warming up — eventually forming new stars,” NASA writes:.

Located about 6,500-7,000 light-years from Earth in the Eagle Nebula, the Pillars of Creation photos have a long history of reissues, just like any other franchise. It first became famous when the Hubble Space Telescope observed it in 1995. Then the Heschel space observatory caught a glimpse in 2011, followed by another attempt by Hubble in 2014 with a newer camera.

Now that these last two new ones have been captured in quick succession by the Webb telescope, we’ll soon be able to enter double digits. But unlike other franchises, this one only seems to get better.

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