Hubble Telescope Captures Mighty Baby Stars That Will Probably Destroy The ‘Pillars Of Creation’
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Scientists from NASA have shared a stunning new visual of the Pillars of Creation – a vast range of star-forming material in the Eagle Nebula.
The pillars are located around 6,000 light years from Earth and are formed with tendrils of gas and dust, which became a Milky Way landmark thanks to incredible images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995.
Now, new images have been released by NASA, focusing on the infrared radiation which is normally invisible to human eyes. This time, however the once colourful pillars appear like ghosts behind a kaleidoscope of newborn stars within the dust.
According to NASA, the pillars are around five light years in length and are natural incubators of star formation, as a result of their dense pockets of hydrogen gas.
In the image, you can see that the most active star forming region in the pillars is located at the tip of the biggest pillar, which glows brightly with a hazy blue radiation.
Scientists from NASA explain that these dusty regions shadow and cool the gas below them, which allows the lower reaches of the pillar to maintain their long, stalk-like appearance.
NASA astronomer Paul Scowen, who led the initial Hubble exploration of the Eagle Nebula in 1995, said that as the stars in the tip of the pillar get bigger, the radiation they give off becomes stronger, destroying the gas around them.
In a statement made in 2015, he said:
The gaseous pillars are actually getting ionized, a process by which electrons are stripped off of atoms, and heated up by radiation from the massive stars.
The stars’ strong winds and barrage of charged particles are literally sandblasting away the tops of these pillars.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has brought us three decades of capturing some of the most stunning sights in space.
To celebrate this important anniversary, NASA is giving star gazers across the world the opportunity to find out what the telescope saw on their own birthday.
All you have to do is select the month and date of your birthday on the NASA website, and you can find out what extraordinary things were going on in the universe while you were cutting your cake.
Described as being the approximate size of a school bus, the Hubble telescope was originally launched in 1990, and has since made more than 1.4 million observations of numerous stars, planets and galaxies.
Happy birthday, Hubble!
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