The soaring pillar is 9.5 light-years, or about 57 trillion miles, high, about twice the distance from our Sun to the nearest star. Stars in the Eagle Nebula are born in clouds of cold hydrogen that reside in chaotic neighborhoods, where energy from young stars sculpts fantasy-like landscapes in the gas. The tower may be a giant incubator for those newborn stars. A torrent of ultraviolet light from a band of massive, hot, young stars (off the top of the image) is eroding the pillar.
Image credit: NASA