Genesis Released by the us National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on November 2 (see Down To Earth, Vol 4, No 14), these Hubble-captured snapshots hold up to the eye a mind-blowing, spectacular display of cosmic births.

Monumental eerie pillars of interstellar hydrogen gas and dust - part of the 7,000 light-years distant star nursery, the 'Eagle Nebula' (also called ml 6) - arise like phantoms out Of a molecular cloud (above). Lit by streams of ultraviolet light emitted by newborn stars (a process called photoevaporation), these awesome gaseous masses are galactic hatcheries: in them exist small globules ofeven denser gas, called Evaporating Gaseous Globules (EGGS), which breed the embryonic stars. Photoevaporation erodes these EGGs, enabling the stars to emerge.

In the picture on the left, a single column of cool hydrogen reaches out into space in the same Nebula, its finger-like protrusions on the top sheltering the stars to be born. Each tip of a Yinger'is larger than our own solar system. These photographs are the latest in the Hubble Space Telescope's album of rivetting cosmic visual treats.

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