Pillars of Creation (Hubble and Webb Images Side by Side)

Stsci_2022-052b_1024

stsci_2022-052b October 19th, 2022

Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, and Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope made the Pillars of Creation famous with its first image in 1995, but revisited the scene in 2014 to reveal a sharper, wider view in visible light, shown above at left.

A new, near-infrared-light view from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, at right, helps us peer through more of the dust in this star-forming region. The thick, dusty brown pillars are no longer as opaque and many more red stars that are still forming come into view.

While the pillars of gas and dust seem darker and less penetrable in Hubble’s view, they appear more diaphanous in Webb’s.

The background of this Hubble image is like a sunrise, beginning in yellows at the bottom, before transitioning to light green and deeper blues at the top. These colors highlight the thickness of the dust all around the pillars, which obscures many more stars in the overall region.

In contrast, the background light in Webb’s image appears in blue hues, which highlights the hydrogen atoms, and reveals an abundance of stars spread across the scene. By penetrating the dusty pillars, Webb also allows us to identify stars that have recently – or are about to – burst free. Near-infrared light can penetrate thick dust clouds, allowing us to learn so much more about this incredible scene.

Both views show us what is happening locally. Although Hubble highlights many more thick layers of dust and Webb shows more of the stars, neither shows us the deeper universe. Dust blocks the view in Hubble’s image, but the interstellar medium plays a major role in Webb’s. It acts like thick smoke or fog, preventing us from peering into the deeper universe, where countless galaxies exist.

The pillars are a small region within the Eagle Nebula, a vast star-forming region 6,500 light-years from Earth.

Provider: Space Telescope Science Institute

Image Source: https://webbtelescope.org/contents/news-releases/2022/news-2022-052

Curator: STScI, Baltimore, MD, USA

Image Use Policy: https://www.stsci.edu/copyright

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Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
M16 Eagle Nebula NGC 6611
Subject - Milky Way
Nebula > Type > Star Formation
Nebula > Appearance > Emission

Distance

Universescale1
6,500 light years

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 18h 18m 55.2s
DEC = -13° 51’ 6.3”
Constellation
Serpens

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue Hubble (WFC3/UVIS) Optical (OIII) 502.0 nm
Green Hubble (WFC3/UVIS) Optical (Halpha+NII) 657.0 nm
Red Hubble (WFC3/UVIS) Optical (SII) 673.0 nm
Purple Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 900.0 nm
Blue Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 1.9 µm
Cyan Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 2.0 µm
Yellow Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 3.4 µm
Orange Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 4.4 µm
Red Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 4.7 µm
Spectrum_base
Blue
Green
Red
Purple
Blue
Cyan
Yellow
Orange
Red
Stsci_2022-052b_1280
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ID
2022-052b
Subject Category
B.4.1.2   B.4.2.1  
Subject Name
M16, Eagle Nebula, NGC 6611
Credits
NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, and Alyssa Pagan (STScI)
Release Date
2022-10-19
Lightyears
6,500
Redshift
6,500
Reference Url
https://webbtelescope.org/contents/news-releases/2022/news-2022-052
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Distance in lightyears
Facility
Hubble, Hubble, Hubble, Webb, Webb, Webb, Webb, Webb, Webb
Instrument
WFC3/UVIS, WFC3/UVIS, WFC3/UVIS, NIRCam, NIRCam, NIRCam, NIRCam, NIRCam, NIRCam
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Red, Purple, Blue, Cyan, Yellow, Orange, Red
Band
Optical, Optical, Optical, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
OIII, Halpha+NII, SII
Central Wavelength
502, 657, 673, 900, 1870, 2000, 3350, 4440, 4700
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
2000.0
Reference Value
274.72992785796, -13.85173905846
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
Position
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
STScI
URL
https://www.stsci.edu/
Name
Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach
Email
outreach@stsci.edu
Telephone
410-338-4444
Address
3700 San Martin Drive
City
Baltimore
State/Province
MD
Postal Code
21218
Country
USA
Rights
https://www.stsci.edu/copyright
Publisher
STScI
Publisher ID
stsci
Resource ID
STSCI-J-p22052b-f-13560x6551.tif
Metadata Date
2022-10-18T09:45:38-04:00
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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Universescalefull
6,500 light years