What is the Eagle Nebula?

The Eagle Nebula, a vast cloud of gas and dust where stars are being born, lies some 7,000 light years distant in the direction of the constellation Serpens. Hot, newborn stars illuminate the gas. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has taken pictures of dramatic "pillars" of dense molecular hydrogen and dust within the nebula. These pillars are slowly "evaporating" under the glare of intense radiation from massive stars that were recently born nearby. Emerging from the eroding tips of the pillars are dense globules of gas and dust. Though tiny in the image, these globules are as wide as our entire solar system. New stars are forming from gas condensing within these stellar cocoons, a process that takes about one hundred million years. The following Internet links will provide additional information.

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