The International Year of Light continues with a beautiful gallery celebrating all aspects of light: multispectral astronomical, technological innovations, bioluminescence, eclipses, and even noctilucent clouds. I'll say this for it: this is the most visually interesting and diverse "Year of..." celebration!
Astronomy relies on seeing in many different wavelengths beyond the mere optical visible to our puny human eyes. See for yourself in interactive images of iconic astronomical objects that allow you to seamlessly slip between seeing through different spectral bands.
That's how the good people at NASA's Astronomy Photo of the Day describe this dust pillar, at any rate, and I know better than to argue with a bunch of astronomers armed with a flair for figurative language. And this gorgeous gas is just one small part of the generally just ridiculously impressive Eagle Nebula.
That top image is pretty, but the only way to see this incredible combination of dust and gas is to take in the whole image below. Holy crap, right? This picture, which was created in 2005 using Hubble data and digitally assigned colors, shows the Eagle Nebula surrounded by and intertwined with dust pillars that are…
In 1995, the world was astonished by the image of a group of 4-light-year-tall columns located in the Eagle Nebula, 7,000 light years from here. So unimaginable it was that someone called them the Pillars of Creation.