Just days ago, NASA shared stunning photos taken from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) showing the Pillars of Creation in a new light. The images were breathtaking and an important new milestone for space science.
Now, NASA has another look at this incredible area of space, and its spooky perfection comes just in time for Halloween.
Explaining this new photo of the ‘Pillars of Creation’ like you’re 5:
Ok, so this photo is incredible, but what are we actually looking at?
Let’s start with what the Pillars of Creation are not: “This is not an ethereal landscape of time-forgotten tombs,” NASA writes. “Nor are these soot-tinged fingers reaching out.” They also aren’t space’s fun and spooky Halloween decorations, though it looks like it would definitely fit the theme of All Hallows’ Eve perfectly.
So, what are we looking at? In a general sense, this photo shows a bunch of old gas and dust that’s been slowly forming over millions of years, and which NASA has named the Pillars of Creation. This area represents a small part of the Eagle Nebula, which is around 6,500 light-years from Earth. It offers a glimpse at the early part of the process of stars being formed, and it’s been attributed to thousands and thousands of star formations.
The newly released image gives a different look at the Pillars of Creation, using a tool on the JWST camera called the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). The previous images of the Pillars used the telescope’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), which is why we see so much variation between the two images.
“Mid-infrared light specializes in detailing where dust is,” NASA shares, “the stars aren’t bright enough at these wavelengths to appear. Instead, these looming, leaden-hued pillars of gas and dust gleam at their edges, hinting at the activity within.”
These images are so otherworldly that it’s hard to conceptualize that they’re really up there in space.
For more information on the newly released image, be sure to check out NASA’s details.
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