Messier 16, the Eagle Nebula
The Eagle Nebula is located about 7,000 light years from Earth, in the constellation Serpens. It is a combination of an open cluster (a loose grouping of related stars) and a gaseous nebula consisting of gas and dust. It is relatively young (about 5.5 million years) and is an active area for new star formation.
The dark areas near the center of the nebula are the famous "Pillars of Creation" imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope (see Hubble image below). They are dark, not because they are "holes" in the nebula, but rather because they are made up of dust that blocks the light of the nebula. It is thought that stars are forming inside the pillars and eventually will become visible as the pillars "evaporate".
• Date: July 13, 2002
Central region of Eagle Nebula by the Hubble Space Telescope.
These same "pillars"
of gas and dust can be seen in my image
The resolution of
Hubble's camera is "slightly" better than