Stars

Gigantic columns of gas produce new stars

The columns - photographed by the Hubble Telescope - are just a piece of the huge Eagle Nebula.

© Hubble Heritage Team / ESA / NASA

About the Eagle Nebula

Huge columns of gas and dust, almost 50 trillion kilometers high.

The Eagle Nebula is a birthplace for stars, and probably resembles the place where our own solar system was formed 4,567 billion years ago.

The dense columns of the mist mainly consist of hydrogen and nitrogen, and these elements are colored green on this unique image of the Hubble telescope.

The columns - photographed by the Hubble Telescope - are just a piece of the huge Eagle Nebula.

© Hubble Heritage Team / ESA / NASA

Eagle Nebula may have already disappeared

The researchers wonder if the columns still exist. The mist is 7000 light-years away, so we can only see what it looked like 7000 years ago.

A huge cloud of dust close to the mist can be a shock wave from a supernova, which may have hit the columns 6,000 years ago.

She may have destroyed such a shock wave, but that is not necessary. Anyway, that possible collision can only be seen from the earth in 1000 years, when its light reaches us.

Guide to the Eagle Nebula

  • WHERE AND WHEN?

    The new moon is on August 30, so you won't be bothered by the moonlight. You will find the Eagle Nebula in the hours after sunset at approximately 15 degrees above the horizon on the southwest.

  • VISIBLE?

    The Eagle Nebula gives a lot of light and can already be seen with one ordinary binoculars. If you want to see the columns of the mist well, use a 12 to 16 inch telescope.

    You can take photos of the mist with the help of a telescope. Point it at the mist and replace the eyepiece with a camera adapter and an SLR camera.

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Video: Anna Frebel: "Searching for the Oldest Stars". Talks at Google (April 2020).

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