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In celebration of its 25th anniversary, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope revisited the famous “Pillars of Creation,” originally imaged in 1995. The pillars are part of a small region of the Eagle Nebula (M16), a vast star-forming region about 6,500 light-years from Earth.
This new, visible-light view 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. 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. 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.