The pillar shape forms when a particularly dense area of gas and dust shields the material behind it from the blistering radiation and strong winds released by hot, massive, blue stars in a young star cluster. This protected material becomes the pillars where stars can form and grow. The Hubble telescope first spied these pillars of stellar creation when it captured close-up views of the Eagle Nebula.
Hubble’s more recent image of 30 Doradus shows numerous pillars — each several light-years long — oriented toward the central star cluster. These pillars, which resemble tiny fingers, are similar in size to those in the Eagle Nebula.
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