Pillars of Creation


The Pillars of Creation are a feature in the Eagle Nebula. This pair of images was taken by Hubble in 2014. The first image shows the Pillars in visible light capturing the silhouette of the dark cloud. The second shows the Pillars in the near-infrared light. The dust transparent at IR wavelengths, revealing the stars within and behind the cloud.

Video Credit: STScI

Speaking of Cosmic Fairies …


fairypillar_hubble_900Tinker Bell is not the only one. Meet the Fairy of the Eagle Nebula. The dust sculptures of the Eagle Nebula are evaporating, and, as powerful starlight whittles away these cosmic structures, the pillars that remain remind some observers of mythical beasts. This fairy is ten light years tall and spews radiation. The Eagle Nebula (aka M16) is actually a giant evaporating shell of gas and dust filled with a stellar nursery that is forming an open cluster of stars. This false-color image was released in 2005 as part of the fifteenth anniversary celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope. (Click the image to embiggen it.)

Image Credit: NASA

A New Look at M16


The Eagle Nebula (aka Messier 16 or M16) contains the young star cluster NGC 6611 and the star-forming region known as the Pillars of Creation. This new composite image shows the region around the Pillars. It combines X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory with Hubble Space Telescope optical data. The optical image, taken with filters to emphasize the interstellar gas and dust, shows dusty brown nebula immersed in a blue-green haze with a few stars showing up as pink dots. The Chandra data shows X-rays from star’s hot outer atmospheres. Low, medium, and high-energy X-ray data are colored red, green, and blue, respectively.

Image Credit: NASA

Herschel’s View of the Eagle Nebula


Herschel_Eagle_Nebulapillars6_hst_960The famous Hubble Space Telescope image of the Pillars of Creation,the light-years long star forming columns of cold gas and dust inside the Eagle Nebula is inset on the left. This false-color composite image above shows the nearby stellar nursery using data from the Herschel Space Observatory. Herschel‘s far infrared detectors record the emission from the region’s cold dust directly. The famous pillars are included near the center of the scene.

Image Credit: ESA

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

The Eagle in 3D


3D data visualisation of the Pillars of CreationEagle_nebula_pillars smallMany of the Gentle Readers will remember the iconic image on the left of the Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula (aka Messier 16) made famous in a picture from the Hubble Space Telescope. Using the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer instrument on European Southern Observatory’s  Very Large Telescope, astronomers have produced the first complete three-dimensional view.

The VLT observations show how the different dusty pillars are distributed in space and reveal many new details, including a previously unknown jet from a young star. Intense radiation and stellar winds from the cluster’s brilliant stars have shaped the Pillars of Creation over time and will blow them away over the next three million years.

Image Credit: ESO

In the Eagle Nebula


This video crossfades between the Hubble and European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope infrared views of the head of Column 1 of the Pillars of Creation in Eagle Nebula. The bright complex reflection nebulosity and its young, massive energy source are completely unseen at visible wavelengths of the Hubble image.

Video Credit: ESO
Image Credits: NASA / ESO

Speaking of Cosmic Fairies …


fairypillar_hubble_900Tinker Bell is not the only one. Meet the Fairy of the Eagle Nebula. The dust sculptures of the Eagle Nebula are evaporating, and, as powerful starlight whittles away these cosmic structures, the pillars that remain remind some observers of mythical beasts. This fairy is ten light years tall and spews radiation. The Eagle Nebula (aka M16) is actually a giant evaporating shell of gas and dust filled with a stellar nursery that is forming an open cluster of stars. This false-color image was released in 2005 as part of the fifteenth anniversary celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope. (Click the image to embiggen it.)

Image Credit: NASA

M16


No, not the rifle. The star cluster know as M16 contains these “pillars of creation.” This picture of the Eagle Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope was one of the most famous astronomy images of the 1990s. It shows evaporating gaseous globules (EGGs) emerging from pillars of molecular hydrogen gas and dust. These giant pillars are several light years long and so dense that gravity pulls the gas together to form stars. At each pillars’ end, the intense radiation of bright young stars causes low density material to boil away,revealing the stellar nurseries in the EGGs. The Eagle Nebula is about 7000 light years away. Its pillars of creation were imaged again in 2007 by the orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope in infrared light. That image has led to the suggestion that the pillars may already have been blown apart by a local supernova, but light from that event has yet to reach the Earth.

Image Credit: NASA

Eagle Nebula


ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory captured the image above of the Eagle nebula with its intensely cold gas and dust. The Pillars of Creation are seen inside the circle and at left in a famous picture made by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 1995.

The Herschel image of the Eagle nebula shows the self-emissions of the intensely cold nebula’s gas and dust as never seen before. Each color shows a different temperature of dust, from around 10 degrees above absolute zero (10 K or -442 °F) for the red, up to around 40 K (or -388 °F) for the blue.

Herschel reveals the intricate nature of the nebula’s tendrils of gas and dust, with large gaps forming a cave-like surrounding to the famous pillars. The gas and dust provide the material for the star formation that is still under way inside this enigmatic nebula.

Image Credits: Herschel, ESA. Hubble, NASA