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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Fairy of Eagle Nebula 

The dust sculptures of the Eagle Nebula are evaporating. As powerful starlight whittles away these cool cosmic mountains, the statuesque pillars that remain might be imagined as mythical beasts.

Pictured below 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 image in scientifically re-assigned colors was released in 2005 as part of the fifteenth anniversary celebration of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Image Credit: The Hubble Heritage Team, (STScI/AURA), ESANASA