Image credit: NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team

Key Takeaways

  1. The Pillars of Creation, located 7000 light-years away in the Eagle Nebula, were captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, revealing interstellar gases and dust clouds forming new stars.
  2. The term “Pillars of Creation” finds its origin in a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, describing the divine power of Christ as the foundation of the physical world.
  3. The Pillars of Creation, composed of vast columns of dust and gas, play a vital role in the life cycle of stars, showcasing active star formation processes within nebulae.
  4. The dust particles in nebulae act as catalysts for chemical reactions, enabling the formation of new molecules and providing an ideal environment for star formation.
  5. While the Pillars of Creation may have been destroyed by a supernova explosion, their destruction could also lead to the formation of new pillars and trigger further star formation.

In the vast expanse of the cosmos lies a breathtaking marvel known as the Pillars of Creation. This awe-inspiring formation, located 7000 light-years away in the Eagle Nebula, was serendipitously captured in 1995 by astronomers from the University of Arizona using the Hubble Space Telescope. Little did they know that this photograph would unveil the birth of stars within interstellar gases and dust clouds, giving rise to the term “Creation” in its name.

The Pillars of Creation, famously named by NASA astrophysicists, draws its origin from an 1857 sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, where he poetically described the divine power of Christ as the foundation of the physical world, binding it together like majestic cosmic pillars. These towering columns of dust and gas, akin to elephant trunks, span 5 light-years in width and 10 light-years in height, making them larger than our entire solar system.

Within nebulae like the Pillars of Creation, seemingly hostile conditions create a cosmic laboratory, where microscopic dust particles act as catalysts for chemical reactions, enabling the formation of new molecules despite low pressure and temperatures approaching absolute zero. These gas clouds collapse, cool down, and give birth to new stars, showcasing the fundamental role nebulae play in the life cycle of stars.

While the Pillars of Creation may have been destroyed by a supernova explosion thousands of years ago, its destruction could have set in motion the formation of new pillars and triggered further star formation. As we gaze upon this celestial wonder, we are reminded of the profound mysteries that the universe holds, inspiring us to keep exploring, learning, and looking upward to the heavens in pursuit of greater understanding.

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#1

Webb mid-infrared image credit: SCIENCE: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI; IMAGE PROCESSING: Joseph DePasquale (STScI), Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

#2

The picture is composed of 32 different images from four separate cameras in this instrument. The photograph was made with light emitted by different elements in the cloud and appears as a different colour in the composite image: green for hydrogen, red for singly-ionized sulphur and blue for double-ionized oxygen atoms. The missing part at the top right is because one of the four cameras has a magnified view of its portion, which allows astronomers to see finer detail. The images from this camera were scaled down in size to match those from the other three cameras. Further information at: Credit: NASA, Jeff Hester, and Paul Scowen (Arizona State University)

#3

The blue colors in the image represent oxygen, red is sulfur, and green represents both nitrogen and hydrogen. The pillars are bathed in the scorching ultraviolet light from a cluster of young stars located just outside the frame. The winds from these stars are slowly eroding the towers of gas and dust. Credits: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

#4

Pillars Of Creation

Credit: The Space Koala

#5

EAGLE NEBULA M16 IN Ha BLANDED IN L AND R CHANNELS. EITEL MONACO

#7

A detail of the photograph of the Pillars of Creation by the James Webb Space Telescope reveals stars forming inside the magnificent clouds. (Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI)

#8

Credit: NatureTTL

#9

This three-panel view, beginning with Hubble’s 1995 view, progressing to the 2014 view, and culminating in JWST’s 2022 view, are all spectacular, but only the JWST view allows us to see the true structure and density of the dust inside.

Zoom into Webb’s view of the Pillars of Creation

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