PHOTOS: NASA’s James Webb Telescope Reveals Stunning Images of the ‘Pillars of Creation’

by Suzanne Halliburton

NASA’s James Webb Telescope has produced even more amazing photos, this time from the mystical “Pillars of Creation.”

The Associated Press posted two photos, kind of a before and after. The caption:

“A new image from NASA’s James Webb Telescope shows the Pillars of Creation, a star-forming region. The second image shows the same region as photographed by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 2014.⁠

“The new telescope’s near-infrared-light view gives a better view of the cosmic dust and gas made famous by NASA’s first image of the region in 1995, the agency said.⁠”

Back in 1995, the Hubble Space Telescope first offered a glimpse of the so-called Pillars of Creation. The coolest part of the photo was of the Eagle Nebula, which the New York Times described as “one of the most productive star factories in the Milky Way galaxy.”

The Hubble showed us what appeared to be rocky fingers of a mountain made up of gas and dust. It all was coming from a distant spot in the universe that’s difficult to realistically imagine. Consider that the Eagle Nebula is 6,500 light years from Earth. It’s in the constellation of Serpens.

Now comes the James Webb Space Telescope, which came on line last December. It photographed the same Eagle Nebula, but in far more distinct detail. When you compare the before and after photos, it’s like someone added triple layers of sparkling lights on a Christmas tree.

This photo is among the first transmitted by the James Webb telescope this past July.(NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI via Getty Images)

NASA launched the $10 billion James Webb Telescope on Christmas Day, 2021. It’s now in orbit around the sun and is sending us these photos which it sees in better detail because it’s a million miles away.

The James Webb Telescope sees infrared light, electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths longer than visible light. As the New York Times wrote, no human eye has ever seen these colors. Astronomers can now study galaxies whose lights have transitioned to infrared. Or the telescope can peer through dust clouds, all to send these stunning images back to Earth.

Late last month, the James Webb Telescope also shot fantastic photos of what sounded like a sci-fi experiment — saving Earth from an asteroid. NASA’s DART spacecraft intentionally crashed into Dimorphos, a 500-foot moon of Didymos, which was seven million miles away. The telescope was one of several to capture the moment the spacecraft, traveling at 14,000-miles an hour, pummeled the asteroid.

The James Webb Telescope wasn’t designed to capture fast-moving objects. But it still was able to spot the aftermath of the collision. Scientists also will be able to use the telescope to study the chemical composition of the asteroid.