Saturday, June 21, 2008

Eagle Nebula: Pillars of Creation

One of the most famous images ever captured by the HST is that of the so-called "Pillars of Creation." These columns of hydrogen gas are actually "star nurseries" in the Eagle Nebula, a star-forming region 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Serpens. To give you some idea of the immensity of the Pillars of Creation, the tallest pillar is approximately 4 light-years long!

The photo was taken April 1, 1995.

According to the Hubble Site:

The color image is constructed from three separate images taken in the light of emission from different types of atoms. Red shows emission from singly-ionized sulfur atoms. Green shows emission from hydrogen. Blue shows light emitted by doubly- ionized oxygen atoms.

The beautiful Pillars of Creation image has been repeatedly compared to Thomas Moran's painting Cliffs of the Upper Colorado River, Wyoming Territory (1882)

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