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Sunday, May 26, 2024

A Fresh Perspective on the ‘Pillars of Creation’ Is Obtained by the Webb Telescope

In 1995, the Hubble Space Telescope astonished the globe with an image of a cosmic scene named Pillars of Creation. This image dates back twenty-seven years. In the picture, the Eagle Nebula, which is one of the most prolific star manufacturers in the Milky Way galaxy, can be seen to have towering mountains made of gas and dust. It was a visual success for the freshly repaired and resurrected Hubble, which had been hampered by a hazy lens that prevented it from capturing crisper images of the universe. It was high art from deep space.

Now, the James Webb Space Telescope, which will take over for Hubble when it retires, has trained its infrared eyes to see through the same columns and examine the infants who are still resting in their dirty cradles. Cherry-red streaks and waves can be seen in the latest image of the Pillars that was published on Wednesday. These are jets of material that were forced out of globs of gas and dust that were newborn protostars as they collapsed and heated up on their way to become stars.

The Webb telescope was developed over a period of 20 years and costing over $10 billion before it was finally launched on Christmas Day of the previous year into an orbit around the sun and one million miles away from Earth. The launch was a tremendous success, as was the complicated process that had to be carried out in orbit before the telescope could be placed into its operating mode.

Infrared light is a kind of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths that are longer than visible light. The Webb telescope is meant to view colours that the human eye has never seen before. Astronomers are able to observe faraway galaxies whose light has transitioned into the infrared as they move away from the Earth and to see through dust clouds that litter the lanes of interstellar space when they view the universe at these wavelengths.

The telescope has shown its usefulness. In the past few months, it has amazed astronomers with new views of a universe that they thought they knew: galaxies and stars at the edge of time, only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang; spooky pictures of planets like Neptune and Jupiter; delicate probes of the atmospheres of exoplanets that are possible lairs of alien life-forms; a view of debris from a small asteroid just after the NASA DART spacecraft,

The Eagle Nebula is located in the constellation Serpens, which gets its name from the Latin word for “serpent.” It is about 6,500 light-years away from Earth. Nebula 16, also known as Messier 16, is a collection of starlight that is so faint that it is only visible to the naked eye on bright summer nights in July and August.

Take advantage of it while you still can: A few million years from now, the nebula will no longer exist because its ferocious star children will have evaporated it like a fleecy windblown cirrus cloud on a warm day.

The Near Infrared Camera on Webb, often known as NIRCam, was used to create the latest picture. Astronomers stated in a news release that the observation by the telescope would allow for a better census of the nebula’s stars and their types, and that this would allow them to improve their models and theories regarding how stars are formed, how they escape from their dusty crèches, how they die, and how they pass on their substances to future generations.

A Boyle
A Boyle
I cover Science related topics for The National Era
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