In astronomy, we study the Universe by collecting light.
The use of visible light alone, however, is incredibly restrictive.
Covering only wavelengths from 400-700 nanometers, optical astronomy neglects most of the features.
But multi-wavelength astronomy can reveal otherwise invisible details.
In particular, the dusty and star-forming regions are home to spectacular phenomena just waiting to be discovered.
One of Hubble’s most iconic goals is the Pillars of Creation.
Located within the Eagle Nebula, a great cosmic run ends there, some 7,000 light-years away.
Visible light showcases neutral matter, absorbing and reflecting light from surrounding stars.
Inside, new stars are actively formed, causing the pillars to evaporate from the inside.
Outside, the external stellar radiation causes neutral matter to evaporate.
The race consists of forming new stars inside before the gas disappears completely.
Double Hubble images, separated by 20 years, show this evolving structure.
But other wavelengths of light reveal what’s going on beneath the dust.
X-ray wavelengths, from NASA’s Chandra, reveal new stars and stellar remnants.
The near-infrared views peer through the dust, exposing the young stars within.
Herschel’s far-infrared eyes exposed cold, neutral matter, which will later form new stars.
NASA’s Spitzer previously looked at the wavelengths of JWST.
With far superior light-gathering power and resolution, it’s the perfect JWST “first science” target.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in pictures, images and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.