The Eagle Nebula (M16): Peering Into the Pillars of Creation (A nearby star-forming region about 7,000 light years from Earth.)

Description: A composite image of the Eagle Nebula (M16) with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope penetrates the dark columns of gas and dust to reveal how much star formation is happening there. The Chandra data (red, green, and blue represent low, medium, and high-energy X-rays respectively) show very few X-ray sources in the so-called "Pillars of Creation" themselves. This indicates that star formation peaked in this region several million years ago.


Creator/Photographer: Chandra X-ray Observatory


NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. The mirrors on Chandra are the largest, most precisely shaped and aligned, and smoothest mirrors ever constructed. Chandra is helping scientists better understand the hot, turbulent regions of space and answer fundamental questions about origin, evolution, and destiny of the Universe. The images Chandra makes are twenty-five times sharper than the best previous X-ray telescope. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Medium: Chandra telescope x-ray


Date: 2001


Persistent URL:


Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory


Collection: Normal Stars and Star Clusters Collection


Gift line: X-ray: NASA/CXC/U.Colorado/Linsky et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/ASU/J.Hester & P.Scowen.


Accession number: m16

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Taken on September 30, 2008