The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in April, 1990. In 1995, it presented us with one of its most iconic images: a close-up of gas pillars in the Eagle Nebula, dubbed the "Pillars of Creation
." Now, as HST approaches its 25th anniversary, astronomers have re-shot the pillars at a much higher resolution
. Here are direct images links: visible light
, comparison with old image
, near-infrared light
. "The infrared view transforms the pillars into eerie, wispy silhouettes seen against a background of myriad stars. That's because the infrared light penetrates much of the gas and dust, except for the densest regions of the pillars. Newborn stars can be seen hidden away inside the pillars."
That's not the only new image from Hubble today: NASA has also released the most high definition view of the Andromeda Galaxy that we've ever seen
. Here's a web-friendly image
, but that doesn't really do it justice. The full image is 69,536 px by 22,230 px. To see Andromeda in all its glory, visit the ESA's dedicated, zoomable site
that contains all the image data. At the highest zoom levels, you can make out a mind-blowing number of individual stars
. Andromeda is over 2 million light-years distant.