These eerie, dark pillar-like structures are actually columns of cool interstellar hydrogen gas and dust that are also incubators for new stars. The pillars protrude from the interior wall of a dark molecular cloud. They are part of M16, the Eagle Nebula. The pillar on the left is about about 4 light-years long from base to tip. Because many new stars are being formed here, astronomers have nicknamed this image the "Pillars of Creation". The Eagle Nebula is a nearby star-forming region located about 6,500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Serpens.