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