Captured by NASA’s James Webb Space, the “Pillar of Creation” image of the Eagle Nebula shows a scene in which it appears to be lit by a twinkling lantern. The larger and higher view of the “Pillar of Creation” shows how a “ghost” is hunting the rock in the lower left, the second column shows the head of a black horse protruding from the edge.
Dust is an essential component in star formation, columns that are erupting with activity, causing new dust to hide within the dark brown, allowing mid-infrared researchers to explore gas and dust from the depths. Flowing with gas and dust in the column, and slowly progressing to star formation after several millennia, Webb has shattered the pillar’s extremely dusty view in mid-infrared light, giving us a glimpse of a familiar landscape.
The mid-infrared light in the pillar can tell where the dust is, but not bright enough to be visible at wavelengths near the stars, and rising leads of gas and dust shine on the sides of the pillars, reflecting the activity within. Images from Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) revealed that thousands of stars have formed in this region of the “Pillars of Creation”, most of which appear to be missing.
Many of the newly formed stars in the “Pillars of Creation” are no longer surrounded by enough dust to be detected in mid-infrared light, but Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) sees young stars that have yet to form their dusty ” The cloaks” are not taken off, and are visible like red ornaments on the sides of the pillars. The blue stars that dot the scene have shed most of the gas and dust, but mid-infrared light excels at seeing gas and dust in extreme detail.