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Gaseous Pillars of the M16 Nebula

Gaseous Pillars of the M16 Nebula Education Astronomy Aviation & Space Exploration STEM

This image, as described by NASA, depicts “M16: Pillars of Creation.”

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day website tells us more about this famous Hubble image:

It was one of the most famous images of the 1990s. This image, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, shows evaporating gaseous globules (EGGs) emerging from pillars of molecular hydrogen gas and dust.

The giant pillars are light years in length and are so dense that interior gas contracts gravitationally to form stars. At each pillars' end, the intense radiation of bright young stars causes low density material to boil away, leaving stellar nurseries of dense EGGs exposed.

The Eagle Nebula, associated with the open star cluster M16, lies about 7000 light years away.

The pillars of creation were imaged again in 2007 by the orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope in infrared light, leading to the conjecture that the pillars may already have been destroyed by a local supernova, but light from that event has yet to reach the Earth.

Click on the image for a fantastic view.


Media Credits

M16_hubble_STScI-PRC1995-44a.jpg

Image, described above, by  J. Hester, P. Scowen (ASU), HST, NASA.

 

 

 

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