The Pillars of Creation

Pillars of Creation IREagle_nebula_pillars smallOne of the iconic Hubble images is the one on the left which shows a portion of the Eagle Nebula known as the Pillars of Creation. The image above was also taken by Hubble, but in near-infrared light, transforming the pillars into eerie, wispy silhouettes seen against a background of stars.

The near-infrared light can penetrate much of the gas and dust, revealing stars behind the nebula as well as others hidden inside the pillars. New stars embedded in the tops of the pillars, however, are apparent as bright sources that are unseen in the visible image.

The ghostly haze (colored blue in this false color image) around the dense edges of the pillars is material being heated by the intense ultraviolet radiation from a cluster of young, massive stars which is just out of the frame.

Image Credit: NASA

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