Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Inside the Eagle Nebula
Posted on 02/04/2012 5:56:20 AM PST by SunkenCiv
Explanation: In 1995, a now famous picture from the Hubble Space Telescope featured Pillars of Creation, star forming columns of cold gas and dust light-years long inside M16, the Eagle Nebula. This remarkable false-color composite image revisits the nearby stellar nursery with image data from the orbiting Herschel Space Observatory and XMM-Newton telescopes. Herschel's far infrared detectors record the emission from the region's cold dust directly, including the famous pillars and other structures near the center of the scene. Toward the other extreme of the electromagnetic spectrum, XMM-Newton's X-ray vision reveals the massive, hot stars of the nebula's embedded star cluster. Hidden from Hubble's view at optical wavelengths, the massive stars have a profound effect, sculpting and transforming the natal gas and dust structures with their energetic winds and radiation. In fact, the massive stars are short lived and astronomers have found evidence in the image data pointing to the remnant of a supernova explosion with an apparent age of 6,000 years. If true, the expanding shock waves would have destroyed the visible structures, including the famous pillars. But because the Eagle Nebula is some 6,500 light-years distant, their destruction won't be witnessed for hundreds of years.
(Excerpt) Read more at 22.214.171.124 ...
[Credit: Far-infrared: ESA/Herschel/PACS/SPIRE/Hill, Motte, HOBYS Key Programme Consortium; X-ray: ESA/XMM-Newton/EPIC/XMM-Newton-SOC/Boulanger]
On The Universe this week they were talking about the impending destruction of the pillars of creation.
I suspect that in itself will touch off a wave of star creation as the shock wave passes through the cloud.
“If true, the expanding shock waves would have destroyed the visible structures, including the famous pillars...”
Pardon my ignorance but would not something as powerful as the Hubble telescope bring images far closer than the “visible” 6500 light years away?
...an apparent age of 6,000 years. If true, the expanding shock waves would have destroyed the visible structures, including the famous pillars. But because the Eagle Nebula is some 6,500 light-years distant, their destruction won't be witnessed for hundreds of years.This particular nebula is about 6,500 light-years distant, which means the light travels for 6,500 years before it reaches us. The telescope doesn't reduce that travel time. :')
It’ll be a big kablooey as the wave of crud expands in all direction and starts impacting those stars (and planets?). It’ll disrupt them, but they’ll also gain mass. The free-floating gases and debris will wind up moving into different trajectories, and if light enough, swept along by the wave.
This and the “Eye of Horus” are the best yet!!
Truly amazing, and such an accomplishment, the incredible technology it took to bring us these images.
So good to click these on after all the Newt/Romney/0bama/Gingrich endless blather. So refreshing.
I only wish my dad were still alive to see these images, a poor Indiana farm boy who studied physics and astro-physics and made it his life’s work. He never got tired of looking at the night sky and pointing out the constellations and planets to us kids.
But that 6500 light years from earth. Would not a telescope span both space and, then hence, time?
In other words are we not (thru the Hubbell) viewing light that is many billions of miles away from us?
Just the light that reaches the telescope not the other way around. I can stand in my yard and photograph the other end of the lake but I don’t have to go there to do it.
Also the Hubble photos are all long exposures which means very dim objects can be imaged.
Nope. The light still has to travel all the way to the mirrors and imagers of the telescope. Just as light has to hit the rods and cones in the back of your eyes to be “seen”. It has to make the trip.
The light the telescope sees left (in this case) 6,500 years ago. Magnifying the image doesn’t push the image back (actually forward) in time.
Thanks for the really cool zot graphic.