In astronomy, we study the universe by collecting light.
However, using only visible light is incredibly restrictive.
Covering only wavelengths of 400-700 nanometers, optical astronomy ignores most features.
But multiwave astronomy can reveal otherwise invisible details.
In particular, the dusty, star-forming regions are home to spectacular phenomena that are just waiting to be discovered.
One of Hubble’s most iconic goals is the Pillars of Creation.
Located in the Eagle Nebula, a large space race ends there, about 7,000 light-years away.
Visible light indicates neutral matter, absorbing and reflecting light from surrounding stars.
Inside, new stars form, which evaporate the pillars from the inside.
Outside, external stellar radiation evaporates neutral matter.
The competition is to form new stars inside before the gas disappears completely.
Hubble’s double images, separated by 20 years, show that this structure is evolving.
But other wavelengths of light reveal what happens under the dust.
X-ray wavelengths from NASA’s Chandra reveal new stars and stellar debris.
Nearby, infrared views peek through the dust, revealing young stars inside.
Herschel’s distant infrared eyes reveal cool, neutral matter that will eventually form new stars.
NASA’s Spitzer has previously looked at JWST wavelengths.
With extremely superior power and light-collection resolution, this is the perfect “first scientific goal” of JWST.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, images and no more than 200 words. Talk less; Smile more.