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News Release Archive:

News Release 90 of 1057

January 5, 2015 05:15 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2015-01

Hubble Goes High Def to Revisit the Iconic 'Pillars of Creation'

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Image: 2014 Hubble WFC3/IR Image of M16 (Cropped)

2014 Hubble WFC3/IR Image of M16 (Cropped)

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This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, taken in near-infrared light, transforms the pillars into eerie, wispy silhouettes, which are seen against a background of myriad stars.

The near-infrared light can penetrate much of the gas and dust, revealing stars behind the nebula as well as hidden away inside the pillars. Some of the gas and dust clouds are so dense that even the near-infrared light cannot penetrate them. New stars embedded in the tops of the pillars, however, are apparent as bright sources that are unseen in the visible image.

The ghostly bluish haze around the dense edges of the pillars is material getting heated up by the intense ultraviolet radiation from a cluster of young, massive stars and evaporating away into space. The stellar grouping is above the pillars and cannot be seen in the image. At the top edge of the left-hand pillar, a gaseous fragment has been heated up and is flying away from the structure, underscoring the violent nature of star-forming regions.

Astronomers used filters that isolate the light from newly formed stars, which are invisible in the visible-light image. At these wavelengths, astronomers are seeing through the pillars and even through the back wall of the nebula cavity and can see the next generations of stars just as they're starting to emerge from their formative nursery.

Object Names: M16, Eagle Nebula, NGC 6611

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

NEWS RELEASE IMAGES

The above image is part of a montage:

Montage Image: A View of the Pillars of Creation in Visible and in Near-Infrared Light Image Type: Astronomical/Annotated A View of the Pillars of Creation in Visible and in Near-Infrared LightPRC2015-01c 2014 Hubble WFC3/UVIS Image of M16 (Cropped) Image Type: Astronomical 2014 Hubble WFC3/UVIS Image of M16 (Cropped)

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