The James Webb Space Telescope has captured a spectacular new view of the “Pillars of Creation” at the heart of the Eagle Nebula, an infrared look at the towering columns of gas and dust in a vast stellar nursery that became one of the Hubble Space Telescope’s most iconic photos. Webb’s view reveals thousands of previously unseen stars in the translucent interstellar medium surrounding the pillars and a multitude of delicate swirls and eddies sculpted in the columns themselves by embedded protostars.
Hubble’s view of the pillars, captured in 1995, amazed astronomers and the public alike, an image that became an iconic symbol of the repaired space telescope’s astronomical prowess. As stunning as Hubble’s image was, Webb’s infrared capability reveals a much more detailed tapestry. Here’s a side-by-side view showing off Webb’s ability to peer inside the pillars and the interstellar medium:
NASA and the European Space Agency provided a “fly through” of the Webb image, giving viewers a zoomed-in view of the pillars’ intricate structure: