'X'-ploring the Eagle Nebula and 'Pillars of Creation'

July 13, 2018, NASA
Credit: NASA/CXC/INAF/M.Guarcello et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI

The Eagle Nebula, also known as Messier 16, contains the young star cluster NGC 6611. It also the site of the spectacular star-forming region known as the Pillars of Creation, which is located in the southern portion of the Eagle Nebula.

This new composite image shows the region around the Pillars, which are about 5,700 light years from Earth. The image combines X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope optical data. The optical image, taken with filters to emphasize the interstellar gas and dust, shows dusty brown nebula immersed in a blue-green haze, and a few stars that appear as pink dots in the image. The Chandra data reveal X-rays from hot outer atmospheres from stars. In this image, low, medium, and high-energy X-rays detected by Chandra have been colored red, green, and blue. 

Using Chandra, researchers detected over 1,700 individual sources of X-rays in the Eagle Nebula (only a fraction are seen in this small field of view). Optical and infrared identifications with stars were used to sort out chance interlopers in the foreground or background, and to determine that more than two-thirds of the sources are likely that are members of the NGC 6611 cluster.

Chandra's unique ability to resolve and locate X-ray sources made it possible to identify hundreds of very young stars, and those still in the process of forming (known as "protostars"). Infrared observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory indicate that 219 of the X-ray sources in the Eagle Nebula are young stars surrounded by disks of dust and gas and 964 are young stars without these disks.

Combined with the Chandra observations, the data show that X-ray activity in young stars with disks is, on average, a few times less intense that in young stars without disks. This behavior is likely due to the interaction of the disk with the magnetic field of the host star. Much of the matter in the disks around these protostars will eventually be blown away by radiation from their host , but, in certain cases, some of it may form into planets. 

In the image, some of the X-ray sources appear to be located in the Pillars.

However, an analysis of the absorption of X-rays from these sources indicates that almost all of these sources belong to the larger Eagle Nebula rather than being immersed in the Pillars.

Three X-ray sources appear to lie near the tip of the largest Pillar. Infrared observations show a protostar containing four or five times the mass of the Sun is located near one of these sources – the blue one near the tip of the Pillar. This source exhibits strong absorption of low-energy X-rays, consistent with a location inside the Pillar. Similar arguments show that one of these sources is associated with a disk-less star outside the Pillar, and one is a foreground object.

Explore further: Peering into the Pillars of Creation

More information: M. G. Guarcello et al. CHANDRA/ACIS-I STUDY OF THE X-RAY PROPERTIES OF THE NGC 6611 AND M16 STELLAR POPULATIONS, The Astrophysical Journal (2012). DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/753/2/117

Related Stories

Peering into the Pillars of Creation

February 15, 2007

A new look at the famous "Pillars of Creation" with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has allowed astronomers to peer inside the dark columns of gas and dust. This penetrating view of the central region of the Eagle Nebula ...

Cygnus OB2: Probing a nearby stellar cradle

November 8, 2012

(Phys.org)—The Milky Way and other galaxies in the universe harbor many young star clusters and associations that each contain hundreds to thousands of hot, massive, young stars known as O and B stars. The star cluster ...

Chandra peers into a nurturing cloud

July 13, 2017

In the context of space, the term 'cloud' can mean something rather different from the fluffy white collections of water in the sky or a way to store data or process information. Giant molecular clouds are vast cosmic objects, ...

Stellar family portrait in X-rays

May 3, 2018

In some ways, star clusters are like giant families with thousands of stellar siblings. These stars come from the same origins—a common cloud of gas and dust—and are bound to one another by gravity. Astronomers think ...

NASA image: Stellar sparklers that last

July 3, 2015

While fireworks only last a short time here on Earth, a bundle of cosmic sparklers in a nearby cluster of stars will be going off for a very long time. NGC 1333 is a star cluster populated with many young stars that are less ...

Coronet: A Star Formation Neighbor

September 13, 2007

While perhaps not quite as well known as its star formation cousin of Orion, the Corona Australis region (containing, at its heart, the Coronet Cluster) is one of the nearest and most active regions of ongoing star formation.

Recommended for you

Team creates high-fidelity images of Sun's atmosphere

July 18, 2018

In 1610, Galileo redesigned the telescope and discovered Jupiter's four largest moons. Nearly 400 years later, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope used its powerful optics to look deep into space—enabling scientists to pin down ...

Martian atmosphere behaves as one

July 18, 2018

New research using a decade of data from ESA's Mars Express has found clear signs of the complex martian atmosphere acting as a single, interconnected system, with processes occurring at low and mid levels significantly affecting ...

NASA's new mini satellite will study Milky Way's halo

July 18, 2018

Astronomers keep coming up short when they survey "normal" matter, the material that makes up galaxies, stars and planets. A new NASA-sponsored CubeSat mission called HaloSat, deployed from the International Space Station ...

Supersharp images from new VLT adaptive optics

July 18, 2018

ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has achieved first light with a new adaptive optics mode called laser tomography—and has captured remarkably sharp test images of the planet Neptune and other objects. The MUSE instrument ...

Jupiter's moon count reaches 79, including tiny 'oddball'

July 17, 2018

Twelve new moons orbiting Jupiter have been found—11 "normal" outer moons, and one that they're calling an "oddball." This brings Jupiter's total number of known moons to a whopping 79—the most of any planet in our Solar ...

12 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Surveillance_Egg_Unit
2.3 / 5 (9) Jul 15, 2018
It may sound corny, but the sight of the "Pillars of Creation" always takes my breath away. The beauty of the Universe, the sheer fluidity of its mechanics, as well as its fearsomeness, strengthens my belief and faith in the Creator of the Universe and all that is in it.

The Pillars, in particular, remind me of a flower garden with flowers still in bud, while others are in full bloom, and the soil in this flower garden is the clouds of dust where the seedlings of the stars are enriched by the essential elements within the clouds.

Such perfection is not random, nor is it accidental. It is all planned out in advance, and all sentient Life should rejoice.
flueninsky
5 / 5 (1) Jul 15, 2018
The way it describe these pillars of creation is like babies in their nurseries pampered and cared for as they grow and emerge as fully fledged starlets taking their first baby steps in the world where a few will care for planets containing human life for over 10billion years
jonesdave
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 15, 2018
Such perfection is not random, nor is it accidental. It is all planned out in advance, and all sentient Life should rejoice.


Including the sentient life on this planet? That needed (presumably pre-planned) numerous mass extinctions of innocent creatures so that it had the opportunity to evolve? Some plan, that! Methinks your Creator is a bit of a psycho.

granville583762
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 15, 2018
You make this sound like a confessional
All the mass extinctions or you step on innocent ants are the grand plan - nature is cruel - this is the Lords work, everything is preordained, were going all religious with this Creator talk, we all have to make amends at the end.
Cusco
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 15, 2018
SEU, that was a really nice post, and then you had to frell it up at the end. You can't be content with the simple fact that the universe is a beautiful and fascinating place?
jonesdave
3 / 5 (2) Jul 15, 2018
SEU, that was a really nice post, and then you had to frell it up at the end. You can't be content with the simple fact that the universe is a beautiful and fascinating place?


Nah, he's a bit thick for that. Hey ho.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
3 / 5 (2) Jul 15, 2018
SEU, that was a really nice post, and then you had to frell it up at the end. You can't be content with the simple fact that the universe is a beautiful and fascinating place?

says Cusco

Thank you, but I must remain true to myself.
The Universe strives for perfection. No matter what is thrown at it, this Universe continues its natural progression toward its perfect symmetry with all of its components in perfect and logical alignments as it had been preprogrammed to be...in the Beginning.

We see only a tiny fraction of the Universe with our technology, and yet behave as though we had seen it all. Sentient beings with eyes wide shut.

The hatred toward the Creator is unjustified and unwarranted, and it only serves to illustrate the fear within the hearts and minds of the unbelievers, that it is possible that they may have been wrong in their attitudes toward the Creator. But believe as you will and God bless.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
1 / 5 (3) Jul 15, 2018
Such perfection is not random, nor is it accidental. It is all planned out in advance, and all sentient Life should rejoice.


Including the sentient life on this planet? That needed (presumably pre-planned) numerous mass extinctions of innocent creatures so that it had the opportunity to evolve? Some plan, that! Methinks your Creator is a bit of a psycho.

says jonesdave

Nevertheless, the Plan worked. And there are enough of our fellow creatures, although not so sentient, to keep humans busy with learning about them and experimenting (Science) on them out of love and curiosity. As well as for the dinner table.

Never fear...extinction may also be a possible future for humans, if and when a far better sentient being comes along to add to the fray. Matter of fact, I tend to believe that they are here already, but I will not reveal my sources for that.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jul 16, 2018
"'X'-ploring the Eagle Nebula and 'Pillars of Creation'"


As long as we don't go for the other 3 "X" (Xpand, Xploit, Xterminate) it's all good.

It is all planned out in advance

Yup making babies die of cancer or in wars (or just be stillborn). Nifty planning, that.

Ya know - if you think life is preplanned you should be very afraid. Because that kind of 'planner' isn't just indifferent...he's callous.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
1 / 5 (1) Jul 16, 2018
The sentient beings that are called "humans" and Homo Sapiens have been endowed with Free Will. With that Free Will has come (for many) a sense of justifiable immorality

"'X'-ploring the Eagle Nebula and 'Pillars of Creation'"


As long as we don't go for the other 3 "X" (Xpand, Xploit, Xterminate) it's all good.

It is all planned out in advance

Yup making babies die of cancer or in wars (or just be stillborn). Nifty planning, that.

Ya know - if you think life is preplanned you should be very afraid. Because that kind of 'planner' isn't just indifferent...he's callous.
says anti_p

The sentient beings that are called "humans" of the specie Homo Sapiens had been endowed with "Free Will"/ "self-determination" as well as given an immaterial Soul. For many, that Free Will has bolstered a sense of justified immorality, egocentric behavior, aka self-centeredness, and a strong need and desire to control and have power over others.
-CONTINUED-
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
1 / 5 (1) Jul 16, 2018
-CONTINUED-

Yup making babies die of cancer or in wars (or just be stillborn). Nifty planning, that.

Ya know - if you think life is preplanned you should be very afraid. Because that kind of 'planner' isn't just indifferent...he's callous.


Perhaps your memory has become faulty. Preplanning does not eliminate or negate Free Will in humans nor prevent certain actions that could lead to bad/evil results. For example: Planned Parenthood is a program (championed by Leftists - Socialists) that is dedicated to the murder of innocent babies who were born and immediately had its skull fractured and its brain sucked out. Then its organs are removed to be sold for scientific experiments. There are millions and millions more babies who have died that way than have died of cancer OR in wars.

But, the Liberal/Socialist view is that murder by abortion is justified to preserve the rights of the women who became pregnant in the first place.
-CONTINUED-
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
1 / 5 (1) Jul 16, 2018
-CONTINUED-
It comes under the heading of Eugenics, which is the program ideal of the 20th century to remove certain folks that are deemed to be economically ( and often racially) unqualified and unnecessary to exist and live amongst those who regard themselves as superior. This has resulted in much angst and anger within the populations who are most affected by Eugenics.

And then there are the wars, which seem to pop up every few years somewhere on the planet.

So, WHO is responsible for wars, then? The Creator does not approve of wars - only humans approve, and indeed, bang the drums of war so often in many places on this planet that it seems trivialised and half expected, as well as feared.

Babies live or die according to their DNA/RNA/immunology and the dedication of their parents/family. This, too, is within the realm of human Free Will and human interests. It is all about choices.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.