(NEXSTAR) – The world was first captivated by the starry view of the cosmic pillars in 1995 thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope. Now, nearly three decades later, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is giving us an even more stunning view.
Known as Pillars of Creationdusty spiers about 6,500 light-years away are thought to be the birthplace of stars.
According to NASA, the Pillars of Creation are just a fraction of the star-forming region within the Eagle Nebula, which was discovered in 1745 by Swiss astronomer Jean-Philippe Loys de Cheseaux.
Hidden in the pillars are newborn stars, some of which can be seen in the latest image from the James Webb Telescope.
Comparison images of the Pillars of Creation, as seen by Hubble (left) and Webb (right), can be viewed below. Webb’s near-infrared camera was able to capture an even more detailed view than Hubble, offering a better view of newborn stars.
The red balls seen in Webb’s version will eventually collapse under their own gravity, heat up and form new stars, NASA explains. The stars that are still forming are creating lava-like lines at the edges of the pillars.
When new stars form, NASA explains, they can sometimes shoot out supersonic jets that collide with other material. This can lead to arcing, leaving wavy patterns. This also creates energetic hydrogen molecules, causing the crimson glow.
The young stars pictured above are estimated to be several hundred thousand years old – relatively young in the lifetime of stars. NASA will use Webb’s latest image to better understand star formation.
You don’t even need an expensive space telescope to see the Eagle Nebula. According to NASA, the nebula is best seen in July even with a small telescope. A larger telescope and even better viewing conditions can offer a glimpse of the Pillars of Creation.