Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit 25 years ago, in April 1990. One of the iconic images it photographed five years later is the one as far as 6,500 light-years away in area M16 of the Eagle Nebula in the constellation Serpens, named the “Pillars of Creation”. For a better view scientists recaptured this old but classic image with upgraded technology to mark the upcoming 25th anniversary and presented it at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The structure can be seen how it has changed over only two decades. Thanks to its detail, sharper than ever before, this extraordinary picture will provide more data to astronomers in months and years to come.
The image represents three colossal columns of cold gas. A cluster of massive, young stars, a place where stars are born, provide the ultraviolet light in which “Pillars of Creation” bath. The pillar effect is produced by the denser region from the top of each pillar that shadows material below from light coming in from above. The detailed breathtaking images show the spectacle of color and shapes of the universe in all its beauty.
A jet-like feature can be seen, probably from a newly forming star, that stretches an additional 60 billion miles on a pillar. The scientists estimated that jet of matter plunged into space with a speed of about 450,000 miles per hour. A region as turbulent as we see in “Pillars of Creation” is one in which our Sun probably formed too. The immense towers of interstellar gas and dust are portrayed in a multi-colored glow of gas clouds and dark cosmic gas interlacing their predominant rust-colored shapes that catch the eye and mesmerizes the viewer.
Paul Scowen of Arizona State University, who co-led the original observations of the Hubble of M16, said
“I’m impressed by how transitory these structures are. They are actively being ablated away before our very eyes. The ghostly bluish haze around the dense edges of the pillars is material getting heated up and evaporating away into space. We have caught these pillars at a very unique and short-lived moment in their evolution”.
According to Paul Scowen this is the best way to look back in time and at the same conditions our Sun was probably formed in, an environment packed full of cosmic matter, energy and light.
Image Source: New York Post