These images show a visible and a near-infrared view of the pillars in the Eagle Nebula.
These images complement each other and provide a more complete view of star formation.
Included is an inquiry-based classroom activity that focuses on the image and text.
These Hubble Space Telescope images show two views of the iconic pillars in the Eagle Nebula — one in visible light and the other in near-infrared light. The pillars were formed when light from young, hot stars, located above the pillars and off the image, ate away the surface of the dust and gas clouds in this region. The pillars resisted erosion because they were more dense areas of star formation. Near-infrared-light penetrates the dust and gas to reveal a myriad of stars behind the nebula, as well as newly forming stars within the pillars. The lithograph PDF includes an inquiry-based classroom activity.
Teachers can use this lithograph as:
An example of visible- and near-infrared-light observations. Use the inquiry-based classroom activity, "In Search of … the Electromagnetic Spectrum," that is included with the PDF lithograph.
An engagement tool in an inquiry-based lesson. Have students study the images on the lithograph. Ask them to write down any questions they have about the images. When the students are finished, their questions can be used in a variety of ways:
A content reading tool. Have students read the text on the lithograph and then write a quiz for the class.
A component in a compare/contrast activity. Compare the features/structure of this nebula to those of the Eskimo Nebula, found in the related materials below. A T-chart or Venn diagram would be a good organizational tool to use for this activity. The activity involves using a graphic organizer to compare the Eagle and Eskimo nebulae. The solution is the graphic organizer listed below as the second resource in the "Related materials" section.
Star Witness news: "Hubble Revisits Famous Pillars for 25th Anniversary"
Lithograph: Eskimo Nebula
Graphic Organizer: Comparison of the Eagle Nebula and the Eskimo Nebula
HubbleSite feature: Infrared: Beyond the Visible
HubbleSite press release on Eagle Nebula: "Hubble Goes High Def to Revisit the Iconic 'Pillars of Creation'"
HubbleSite press release on Eagle Nebula (1995 observation): "Embryonic Stars Emerge from Interstellar 'Eggs'"
Amazing Space resources by topic: Stars and stellar evolution
Amazing Space resources by topic: Electromagnetic spectrum/Light & color