How do pillar-like structures form out of interstellar gas clouds?

Find out more about 30 Doradus from NewsCenter.

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.

HubbleSite and STScI are not responsible for content found outside of hubblesite.org and stsci.edu

Next question: What is the Ring Nebula?

Previous question: What is the Eagle Nebula?

See all questions and answers on one big page.

Return to question list for Gas Clouds and Nebulae

Return to FAQ home