Hubble captures the Pillars of Creation twenty years on
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured many breathtaking images of the Universe, but one snapshot stands out from the rest: the Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation. In 1995 Hubble’s iconic image revealed never-before-seen details in the giant columns and now the telescope is kickstarting its 25th year in orbit with an even clearer, and more stunning, image of these beautiful structures.
2015 v. 1995 ‘Pillars of Creation’ comparison. WFC3: NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team. WFPC2: NASA, ESA/Hubble, STScI, J. Hester and P. Scowen (Arizona State University)
New view of the Pillars of Creation, infrared light. NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team.
New view of the Pillars of Creation, visible light, detail. NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team.
In addition, NASA says that although the original photograph was titled Pillars of Creation, the newer imagery suggests the columns might also contain a fair amount of destruction:
Although the original image was dubbed the “Pillars of Creation”, this new image hints that they are also pillars of destruction. The dust and gas in these pillars is seared by intense radiation from the young stars forming within them, and eroded by strong winds from massive nearby stars. The ghostly bluish haze around the dense edges of the pillars in the visible-light view is material that is being heated by bright young stars and evaporating away.