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The Pillars of Creation
by Jeff Hester


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Many people have gazed in awe at the Hubble Space Telescope image (left) taken of the Eagle Nebula, a spectacular star-forming region about 6,500 light-years away. Indeed, I'm proud to say—since I "took" the picture with my colleague Paul Scowen at Arizona State University—that the image is arguably the most famous Hubble photograph ever taken. But few laypeople realize just how much effort goes into preparing such images sent down from our orbiting eye on the universe. In this feature, I'll walk you through the various steps it took to assemble this image from the raw data, then end with just a bit about what the image tells us about the "Pillars of Creation," as this fascinating star nursery has been dubbed.


Jeff Hester is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Arizona State University in Tempe.

  

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