We thought we had seen everything but JWST just took it to another level.
JWST surprised us in October with two new images of the famous Pillars of Creation, a cosmic feature of dust and gas made famous by Hubble. The images were captured by two different JWST instruments: the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and the Mid-Infrared Camera (MIRI), which perceive the universe in slightly different ways. The combined view is now available, and it is greater than the sum of its parts.
The NIRCam reveals thousands of newly formed stars and the glittering firmament of established stellar bodies, while the MIRI captures the layer of cool and hot dust from the grayscale layers of the pillars, as well as the orange and purple structure that shields the field of view from more distant light.
New details about these incredible structures has emerged. The lava-red structures seen in the pillars, particularly the middle one, are among the most intriguing features. These are the locations where the youngest stars are most active in terms of producing supersonic jets of material as they grow. They are thought to be only a few hundred thousand years old.
The new view of the Pillars provided by JWST will assist astronomers in developing a better 3D view of the star-forming region, resulting in a better understanding of how and where stars form.
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