James Webb Telescope Just Captured the Pillars of Creation in Trippy Detail

The Hubble telescope captured the first image of the pillars in 1995.

Courtesy of NASA

If you're a space nerd, chances are you're already familiar with the Hubble telescope's iconic Pillars of Creation image. Well, now NASA is back with a sequel of sorts. The James Webb Space Telescope just presented us with an enhanced take on the original image, and it's absolutely breathtaking.

When the new image is placed alongside the original, the difference in quality is quite astounding. The pillars had their first interstellar photoshoot in 1995 and were revisited again in 2014, but the most recent image by James Webb is the clear winner here.

These pillars have much more to offer than their looks. They're also responsible for the birth of numerous new stars. When heavy "knots" of gas and dust form within these pillars, they begin to collapse under their own gravity, heat up, and voila A Star Is Born.

Despite all the incredibly shiny objects in this image, it might come as a surprise to you that there aren't any galaxies within view. That's because a special mix of translucent gas and dust referred to by scientists as the "interstellar medium" actually blocks our view of the deeper universe. Kind of like how anyone over six feet tall might block your view at a concert, except not at all.

If you look closely at the top of each pillar, you'll see a faint red glow. That glow comes about as a result of stars that are still forming. Precious, I know. These stars are estimated to be only a few hundred thousand years old, according to NASA.

The James Webb telescope has been hard at work this year. In just a few short months the infrared observatory has cranked out enough stunning imagery to rival even the most prolific social media influencer.

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities.

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Jeremy Porr is a News Writer at Thrillist. Follow Jeremy on Instagram.
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