In honor of the Hubble Space Telescope’s 25th anniversary in April, NASA is unveiling high-definition images of the iconic “Pillars of Creation” captured by Hubble in 1995.
One image, which has appeared in movies, TV shows, and a postage stamp, shows three columns of gas in ultraviolet light from a cluster of stars in a small region of the Eagle Nebula, or M16. The Hubble has revisited the pillars, photographing them in near-infrared light, as well as visible light, according to a news release
"I'm impressed by how transitory these structures are,” Paul Scowen of Arizona State University in Tempe, said in the release. “They are actively being ablated away before our very eyes. The ghostly bluish haze around the dense edges of the pillars is material getting heated up and evaporating away into space. We have caught these pillars at a very unique and short-lived moment in their evolution."
The pillars have provided an image of space that goes beyond a black void, inspiring filmmakers and children interested in astronomy.
“It looks almost like a fantasy landscape — there’s a feel to it that convinces yourself that you are looking at something that is living under a microscope,” Ray Villard, news director at the Space Telescope Science Institute, told Fox News
. “It defies expectations of what’s out there in space.”
The new images show how the pillars have changed, with gas between the pillars having blown away.
Twitter users expressed awe at the image.
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