Hard to believe it’s been almost 25 years since the Hubble Space Telescope went up on Shuttle Mission 31. NASA is gearing up for the official April 24th anniversary and released a stunning new image of an old favorite: The Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula. Be prepared to wait if you click on that image, it’s linked to the huge NASA billboard version. This image at Bad Astronomy is a little easier to digest:
The pillars are these towers. The tops are pointing toward the onslaught of stellar radiation and are slowly being dissolved by the light. You can see small knots, clumps of material here and there; these are where stars are being formed and are being uncovered as the dust dissolves. You can see numerous finger-shaped blobs all over the region, too, being eroded by the same process. There’s also a near-infrared image, which detects light that can get through some of the otherwise-opaque dust, showing even more details, including baby stars.