Posted by: Kevin | January 11, 2007

Pillars of Creation, No More?

pilars-of-creation.JPG
The Eagle Nebula

The picure of the Eagle Nebula is among the most famous ever taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.  It also happens to be my favorite.  These huge and massive clouds of interstellar dust and gas serve as a powerful reminder that the universe is always creating.  Long after I’m dust and bones the universe will go right on creating.  It’s oddly comforting.

 Naturally, this article in CNN.com came as a bit of a shock. 

“The pillars have already been destroyed by the shockwave,” said study leader Nicolas Flagey of The Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale in France.

Astronomers think the supernova’s shock wave knocked the pillars down about 6,000 years ago. But because the Eagle Nebula is located some 7,000 light years away, the majestic pillars will appear intact to observers on Earth for another 1,000 years or so.

So they’re already gone, these pillars of creation, wacked by a supernova.  We just haven’t gotten the news yet.  This is the way of the universe, I guess.  Always creating, always destroying too.  Yet that destruction will yield hundreds of new stars to light the universe.  So even in death, the Eagle Nebula will fullfill it’s roll in making stars.  I can only hope that 1,000 years from now mankind will be in the position to witness these events up close. 

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