A new view of one of Hubble’s most famous images
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON—In honor of the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in April, astronomers have taken another snapshot of one of the images that made Hubble famous: the “Pillars of Creation” in the Eagle Nebula. “It’s a new image of an old friend,” said Paul Scowen of Arizona State University, Tempe, while presenting the images here this week at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. “You can see how far Hubble has come in the past 25 years serving the astronomical community.” Hubble’s instruments have been upgraded since the original image was snapped 19 years ago, so astronomers are able to see more detail and gather more data than previously. The image shows a region of gas and dust where stars are being born, but much of the material is in the process of being blown away by ultraviolet light from massive young stars elsewhere in the nebula. At the top of each pillar is a denser region that is shadowing material below from light coming in from above, producing the pillar effect.