Chandra and HST image of the Eagle Nebula field
Credit:X-ray: NASA/CXC/U.Colorado/Linsky et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/ASU/J.Hester & P.Scowen

Breaking Down the Pillars

Fascinating, the ways that stars and planets form. Though much has been learned about this hidden process, many of the details are far from clear. Young stars are often hyperactive, screaming out because their magnetic fields get tangled or because of strong stellar winds which can carry immense amounts of energy. This activity generates X-rays. X-radiation can penetrate through very thick clouds, giving astronomers a view of the otherwise hidden secrets of young stars. The image above shows an X-ray image by the Chandra observatory of a field of young stars. The stars are the colored, which represents the energy of the emitted X-rays: blue for predominantly high-energy X-ray sources, red for predominantly low energy X-ray emitting sources. This field includes the famous "Pillars of Creation", stunning columns of gas and dust within which stars are forming, shown in the inset optical image from the Hubble Space Telescope. Chandra lets astronomers peer deep inside the cold Pillars to reveal the hidden hot stars within.

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:27:16 EDT

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