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Stellar Nursery
enormous pillars of interstellar hydrogen gas and dustEnormous pillars of interstellar hydrogen gas and dust mark the birthplace of stars. This fantastic image, taken by the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, depicts clouds that are in some ways like buttes in a desert, dense rock that has survived erosion over millennia. In this case, especially dense clouds of molecular hydrogen gas and dust have survived longer than their surroundings in the face of a flood of ultraviolet light from hot, massive newborn stars. Such clouds are, in essence, stellar nurseries, where the dust and gas from long-dead stars has coalesced to provide the raw material for new stars. This cluster of pillars resides in the Eagle Nebula, 7,000 light-years away in the constellation Serpens. The photo is the product of work by astronomers Jeff Hester and Paul Scowen of Arizona State University.

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