The “Pillars Of Creation” have been seen before. This iconic photo was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope first in 1997 and again in 2014. These are the versions of the iconic photo from 1995 and 2014.
Behold…the Pillars of Creation!
Using @NASAWebb‘s NIRCam, we’re able to see this iconic star-forming region in a new way. See those wavy lines that look like lava at the edges of the pillars? These are baby stars that are forming within the gas & dust: https://t.co/CGaIpmAROf pic.twitter.com/6BbW9wBHsk
— Thomas Zurbuchen (@Dr_ThomasZ) October 19, 2022
It is beautiful, no doubt. Here’s another shot, taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.
It is amazing. The pillars have wavy lines running along their edges that look almost like lava. These are ejections of stars still in formation. According to the European Space Agency (one of the operators of JWST), “Young stars occasionally emit jets that interact with clouds of material like these thick, pillars of gas, and dust.”
According to CNN:
NASA, ESA, and Canada’s Space Agency operate Webb. The $10 billion-capacity space observatory was launched in December and has enough fuel to take unprecedented images of the cosmos over the next 20 years.
The space observatory’s massive mirror and infrared technology can reveal faint, distant galaxies which are otherwise hidden. This is a significant improvement in the capabilities of other telescopes. Webb also has the potential for enhancing our understanding of the origins and evolution of the universe.
Webb’s initial images, which were released in July, highlight the observatory’s ability to see previously undiscovered aspects of the cosmos. These include star birth that is shrouded by dust.
Astronomers also use the telescope’s precise and stable image quality to illuminate the solar system. The telescope has already taken images of Mars and Jupiter, but so far, it is only taking images of Neptune and Neptune.
These are beautiful pictures that make great wallpaper for your computer. But what about $10 billion?
Even space scientists were complaining about the expense. Consider what other NASA projects were put on hold because Webb took so many tax dollars. Webb could have funded at least 12 missions worth around a billion dollars each. There are missions to Mars, the Sun, and to mine an asteroid.
Webb’s spending of this money is a matter of condemnation. It could have been spent on more worthwhile things or the $10 billion could have gone back to taxpayers for a tax cut. The expenditure cannot be justified by any rational or logical argument.
However, there is an illogical and absurd argument: You cannot price knowledge of the universe or the joy of knowing.
It doesn’t pay anything to figure stuff out, even complex topics like the origins of the universe or the place of mankind in the cosmos. Value comes from the pure joy of satisfying the insatiable curiosity that has blessed and cursed our species ever since we began to think.
These mysteries can be difficult to unravel. These days, great advances in physics, Astronomy, and Cosmology were only possible with the assistance of a handful of graduate assistants. In the 1950s and 1960s, NASA was frequented by the phrase “No Buck Rogers, no bucks” Science changed forever when it became clear that only taxpayers could finance the giant robots we sent into space.
We can only go so far with Earth-based observations. The Webb Telescope enables us to study the universe in a way that is unimaginable just a few years ago. It’s an exciting time in our lives. Webb is sure to surprise and amaze us with new discoveries.
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