You can’t escape its clutches — just in time for #Halloween, the Pillars of Creation reach back out like a ghostly hand. (Some chilling perspective: these “fingers” are roughly 5 light-years long!) about 48,000,000,000,000 kms
The eerie landscape is captured this time by the James Webb Space Telescope’s mid-infrared instrument (MIRI). Mid-infrared light specializes in detailing where dust and gas is. Here, the densest areas of dust are the darkest shades of gray, while the red region toward the top is where the dust is diffuse and cooler.
Don’t worry, the baby stars seen in Webb’s near-infrared view (released earlier this month) didn’t disappear. They’re just not easy to detect in mid-infrared! Instead, MIRI sees young stars with dusty cloaks — the crimson orbs at the pillars’ fringes — as well as scattered, aging blue stars.
Hauntingly beautiful in any light, we can’t help but return to the Pillars of Creation over and over. And each time, we deepen our understanding of this region. With this new MIRI image, astronomers now have higher resolution data in mid-infrared light than ever before
Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI