Pillars of Creation

NASA releases new high-definition view of iconic ‘Pillars of Creation’ to celebrate 25 years (1990-2015) of exploring the Universe from Earth orbit, the Hubble Space Telescope‘s cameras were used to revisit its most iconic image.

Above: New view of the Pillars of Creation, visible light.  Credit NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team.

Top images: A View of the Pillars of Creation in Visible and in Near-Infrared Light.  Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Although NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has taken many breathtaking images of the universe, one snapshot stands out from the rest: the iconic view of the so-called “Pillars of Creation.” The jaw-dropping photo, taken in 1995, revealed never-before-seen details of three giant columns of cold gas bathed in the scorching ultraviolet light from a cluster of young, massive stars in a small region of the Eagle Nebula, or M16.

Stars are forming deep inside the towering structures. The light-years long columns of cold gas and dust are some 6,500 light-years distant in M16, the Eagle Nebula, toward the constellation Serpens. Sculpted and eroded by the energetic ultraviolet light and powerful winds from M16’s cluster of young, massive stars, the cosmic pillars themselves are destined for destruction.