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Look! New Webb Telescope image takes a fresh look at Hubble’s most iconic target

The Pillars of Creation, revisited.

Twenty-seven years after the Hubble Space Telescope captured one of its most iconic images, the James Webb Space Telescope went back for a fresh look.

Today, NASA released a new JWST snapshot of the Pillars of Creation, glowing with more detail than ever before. While the billowing stakes of cosmic dust are easy to recognize, JWST fills in a lot of starry details that are invisible in Hubble’s original image.

Pillars of Creation by JWST.NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI; J. DePasquale, A. Koekemoer, A. Pagan (STScI).

Located in the Eagle Nebula, this region of sky is a massive star nursery. Some stars are still forming within those towers, while others are beginning to emerge from their dusty cocoons.

As the young stars grow, they sometimes shoot out bursts of matter. You can see these bursts at the edges of the pillars, marked by wavy lines.

The nebula is so densely packed with stars that no nearby galaxies are visible in the distance.

JWST’s near-infrared camera cut through thick dust clouds to capture this incredible view. In 2014, Hubble re-captured the site in visible light, with glowing clouds of dust illuminating the dark pillars.

Here’s a comparison:

Comparison between JWST and Hubble images of the Pillars of Creation.NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI; J. DePasquale, A. Koekemoer, A. Pagan (STScI).

At infrared wavelengths, Hubble captured a similarly star-studded view in 2015. And with the new JWST, we now have a freshly illuminated portrait of an instantly recognizable object.

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