Infrared Universe: Pillars of Creation (M16)
Release Date: November 26, 2018 9:47AM (EST)
Media Use: Copyright
About This Video
M16, better known as the Eagle Nebula, consists of a group of around 8,000 stars that formed roughly 5.5 million years ago, and a nebula, a cloud of gas and dust illuminated by the central cluster of bright, newly formed stars. This close-up of M16 is focused on the iconic Pillars of Creation, immense towers carved out of the cold dust by high-energy electromagnetic radiation emitted by the hot stars. The pillars of gas and dust block visible light, concealing the stars forming within them. Infrared light shines through the dust, revealing stars forming within the pillars as well as stars far beyond. X-ray light also shines through the pillars, revealing extremely hot stars, most of which lie beyond the nebula.
Optical: The pillars of cold gas and dust absorb visible light, concealing stars forming within them.
Infrared: Infrared light from stars within and beyond the pillars passes straight through the cold gas and dust.
ABOUT THE INFRARED UNIVERSE COLLECTION
The human eye can only see visible light, but objects give off a variety of wavelengths of light. To see an object as it truly exists, we would ideally look at its appearance through the full range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Telescopes show us objects as they appear emitting different energies of light, with each wavelength conveying unique information about the object. The Webb Space Telescope will study infrared light from celestial objects with much greater clarity and sensitivity than ever before. Explore the Infrared Universe.