The Cone Nebula is very similar to the M16 Pillars of Creation. Monstrous pillars of cold gas, like the these in Cone and M16, are common in large regions of star birth. Astronomers have discovered a lot of young stars and even planets in the areas like this. The Cone Nebula resides 2,500 light-years away in the constellation Monoceros.
Radiation from hot, young stars has slowly eroded the nebula over millions of years. The Ultraviolet light heats the edges of the dark cloud, releasing gas into the relatively empty region of surrounding space. There, additional ultraviolet radiation causes the hydrogen gas to glow, which produces the red halo of light seen around the pillar. A similar process occurs on a much smaller scale to gas surrounding a single star, forming the bow-shaped arc seen near the upper left side of the Cone. This arc, seen previously with the Hubble telescope, is 65 times larger than the diameter of our solar system. The blue-white light from surrounding stars is reflected by dust. Background stars can be seen peeking through the evaporating tendrils of gas, while the turbulent base is pockmarked with stars reddened by dust.
Image Credits: NASA, ESA