In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Hubble has revisited the famous "Pillars of Creation" in the Eagle Nebula, originally photographed in 1995. The new, visible-light view (above) provides astronomers with a sharper and wider portrait of the three giant columns of cold gas, bathed in scorching ultraviolet light from a cluster of young, massive stars. The gaseous columns reside in a small region of the Eagle Nebula (also called M16). Streamers of gas can be seen bleeding off the pillars as the intense radiation heats and evaporates them into space. Stars are being born deep inside the tall structures.
Though such pillars are common in star-forming regions, the M16 structures are by far the most photogenic and evocative. The original, 1995 Hubble photo revealed never-before-seen details of the three giant pillars. The image became so popular that it appeared in movies and television shows, on tee-shirts and pillows, and even on a postage stamp.
Mouse over the image and scroll to zoom in and out, or use the blue buttons that appear in the lower right corner of the image.