New View of the Iconic Eagle Nebula
A close-up image of the the so-called “Pillars of Creation” located at the center of the Eagle Nebula.
Credit: ESO

In 1995, the Hubble Space Telescope captured an unforgettable image of stars being formed that would later be known as the ?pillars of creation.? Now newly released photos from the European Southern Observatory's telescope at La Silla, Chile offer a second look with 200 times more detail than the original.?

The Eagle Nebula, a region of space where the phenomenon occurred, was discovered by Swiss astronomer Jean Philippe Loys de Ch?seaux around 1745 near the constellation of Serpens (the Snake), some 7,000 light-years away.

The nebula itself has a shape vaguely reminiscent of an eagle, with the central pillars being the ?talons?.

In the middle of the nebula, the pillars of gas and dust are simultaneously sculpted, illuminated and destroyed by ultraviolet light from massive stars in NGC 6611, an adjacent young stellar cluster.

And within a few million years, they will be gone forever, astronomers say.