NASA / ESA / STSCI / HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / ESA / STSCI / HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gas pillar in the Eagle nebula (M16), Hubble Space Telescope image. This is a 9.5-light-year-tall pillar of cold gas and dust silhouetted against a bright emission nebula. The dense pockets of dust and gas in this pillar may be in the process of condensing into stars. The upper part of the pillar is glowing as it is heated and compressed by radiation from hot young stars out of frame at upper left. The colours here come from ionised gases; the blue from oxygen and the orange from hydrogen. The Eagle nebula lies around 7000 light years from Earth in the constellation Serpens Cauda. This image was taken in November 2004 by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on the HST.
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