January 19, 1997
Explanation: Perhaps the most famous astronomical image in recent years reveals newborn stars upon pillars of gas and dust - uncovered as researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to explore the Eagle Nebula in 1995. This stunning picture provides a first hand glimpse of star birth as evaporating gaseous globules (EGGs) are captured emerging from pillars of molecular hydrogen gas and dust. These pillars, dubbed "elephant trunks," are light years in length and are so dense that interior gas gravitationally contracts to form stars. At each pillars' end, the intense radiation of bright young stars causes low density gas to boil away, leaving stellar nurseries of dense EGGs exposed.
Authors & editors:
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.