In visible light, the whole thing looks like an
The region was captured recently in unprecedented detail in
infrared light by the robotic orbiting
Spitzer Space Telescope (SSC).
Shown above, the infrared image allows observers
to peer through normally
opaque dust and so better capture the
full complexity of the
Eagle Nebula star forming region.
In particular, the
three famous pillars
near the image center are seen bathed in dust likely warmed by a
The warm dust is digitally assigned the false color of red.
Also visible, near the bottom of the image,
is ten light-year long pillar sometimes dubbed the
Fairy of Eagle Nebula.
The greater Eagle emission nebula, tagged M16, lies about 6500 light years away, spans about 20 light-years,
and is visible with binoculars toward the constellation of Serpens.