Dec 10, 2007

Beautiful Eagle Nebula

The Eagle Nebula (also known as Messier Object 16, M16 or NGC 6611), perhaps one of the most famous and easily recognized space objects, is a young open cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens, discovered by Jean-Philippe de Cheseaux in 1745-46. The dust sculptures of the Eagle Nebula are evaporating.

Pictured above is one of several striking dust pillars of the Eagle Nebula that might be described as a gigantic alien fairy. This fairy, however, is ten light years tall and spews radiation much hotter than common fire. The greater Eagle Nebula, M16, is actually a giant evaporating shell of gas and dust inside of which is a growing cavity filled with a spectacular stellar nursery currently forming an open cluster of stars. The above image in scientifically re-assigned colors was released as part of the fifteenth anniversary celebration of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA


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