Mystic mountain

061116 magicmountain 1
ESO / A. McLeod

This craggy fantasy mountaintop enshrouded by wispy clouds looks like a bizarre landscape.

But it is a pillar of gas and dust, three light-years tall, which is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being assaulted from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks.

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