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.