MUSE has shown that the tip of the left pillar is facing us, atop a pillar that is actually situated behind NGC 6611, unlike the other pillars.
Astronomers hope to better understand how young O and B stars like those in NGC 6611 influence the formation of subsequent stars.
NGC 6611, perhaps better known as the Eagle Nebula, is situated on the eastern edge of Serpens Cauda and very close to the western border of Scutum.
OBJECT TYPE RA DEC MAG SIZE NGC 6027 Galaxies 15h59m.2 +20[degrees]45'.2 14.3 Combine A/B/C/D/E 1.3' PGC Galaxy 15h17m.2 +21[degrees]35'.7 16 1.0'x 54559 0.9' Hoag's Object IC 4537 Galaxy 15h17m.3 +02[degrees]02'.8 15 0.3'x 0.2' NGC 5904 Globular 15h18m.6 +02[degrees]04'.8 5.7 17.4' Messier 5 Cluster NGC 5921 Galaxy 15h21m.8 +05[degrees]04'.2 10.8 4.8'x 4.2' PK13+32.1 Planetary 16h21m.3 -00[degrees]16'.3 12.8 6" Shane 1 Nebula NGC 5996 Galaxy 15h46m.8 +17[degrees]52'.2 12.8 1.8'x 1.0' NGC 6604 Open 18h18m.3 -12[degrees]14'.6 6.5 4' Cluster NGC 6611 Nebula 18h18m.8 -13[degrees]47'.7 6 18' Messier 16 IC 4703 Diffuse 18h18m.6 -13[degrees]57'.2 -- 120"x Pillars Nebula 25" IC 4756 Open 18h39m.3 +05[degrees]27'.2 4.6 38' Cluster
M16 (NGC 6611
) is the often-photographed Eagle Nebula.
Located 7000 light-years away, towards the constellation of Serpens (the Snake), the Eagle Nebula is a dazzling stellar nursery, a region of gas and dust where young stars are currently being formed and where a cluster of massive, hot stars, NGC 6611, has just been born.
The "Pillars of Creation" are in the middle of the image, with the cluster of young stars, NGC 6611, lying above and to the right.
This remarkable image by Ken Crawford focuses on the dark pillars of dust and gas formed by photoevaporation, in which ultraviolet radiation from the hot young stars of the cluster NGC 6611
at upper left erodes the thinner areas of nebulosity to reveal the dense columns of material within.
Ranging from three to eight times the mass of the sun, these stars belng to a Milky Way cluster known as NGC 6611. Based on visible-light and infrared observations, astronomers find indirect evidence that some 20 percent of these newborns have disks or spherical envelopes of dust surrounding them, says Lynne A.
The team also finds evidence that some members of cluster NGC 6611, known as Be and Ae stars, are much younger than believed.