APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 07)

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APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 07)

Post by APOD Robot » Wed Jan 07, 2015 5:10 am

Image Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of Creation

Explanation: To celebrate 25 years (1990-2015) of exploring the Universe from low Earth orbit, the Hubble Space Telescope's cameras were used to revisit its most iconic image. The result is this sharper, wider view of the region dubbed the Pillars of Creation, first imaged by Hubble in 1995. Stars are forming deep inside the towering structures. The light-years long columns of cold gas and dust are some 6,500 light-years distant in M16, the Eagle Nebula, toward the constellation Serpens. Sculpted and eroded by the energetic ultraviolet light and powerful winds from M16's cluster of young, massive stars, the cosmic pillars themselves are destined for destruction. But the turbulent environment of star formation within M16, whose spectacular details are captured in this Hubble visible-light snapshot, is likely similar to the environment that formed our own Sun.

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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by bystander » Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:32 am

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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by ApodLover » Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:57 am

what is the field of view of this image? even one pixel ?

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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:49 am

ApodLover wrote:what is the field of view of this image? even one pixel ?
Looks like the field is about 3 arcminutes on a side (if it's not a mosaic, I'd assume 2.7 arcminutes, since that's the FOV of the WFC3. The camera has a resolution of about 0.04 arcsec/pixel, but this resampled release is around 0.1 arcsec/pixel.
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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by blastoff » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:50 am

Is it possible to see any movement over the 25 year interval (a mere instant indeed) at this scale? of the gasses themselves or perspective shift as we float by? my guess is not much. We'll simply have to take a photo every twenty five years for the next several million, and have a pretty amazing time-lapse!

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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by mister T » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:43 am

Does any one else see a sad panda looking out of the center pillar?

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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by geckzilla » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:58 am

blastoff wrote:Is it possible to see any movement over the 25 year interval (a mere instant indeed) at this scale? of the gasses themselves or perspective shift as we float by? my guess is not much. We'll simply have to take a photo every twenty five years for the next several million, and have a pretty amazing time-lapse!
Overall, no. But there are some streaming jets which are moving with sufficient speed to have captured their movement. It would probably take only a few thousands of years to create an animation rather than millions. One hypothesis is that the pillars will face a shock wave from a recent supernova which will obliterate them in just 1000 years.
http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/imag ... -print.jpg
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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by BDanielMayfield » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:28 pm

geckzilla wrote:One hypothesis is that the pillars will face a shock wave from a recent supernova which will obliterate them in just 1000 years.
Interesting. Which recent super supernova is that? Is there a nearby supernova remnant that is about to swell into this field? Or is there a star here that's expected to blow up soon?
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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by Nitpicker » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:35 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:
geckzilla wrote:One hypothesis is that the pillars will face a shock wave from a recent supernova which will obliterate them in just 1000 years.
Interesting. Which recent super supernova is that? Is there a nearby supernova remnant that is about to swell into this field? Or is there a star here that's expected to blow up soon?
See:
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/news/249 ... -Explosion

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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by geckzilla » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:16 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
ApodLover wrote:what is the field of view of this image? even one pixel ?
Looks like the field is about 3 arcminutes on a side (if it's not a mosaic, I'd assume 2.7 arcminutes, since that's the FOV of the WFC3. The camera has a resolution of about 0.04 arcsec/pixel, but this resampled release is around 0.1 arcsec/pixel.
Data posted at MAST! This includes a footprints image.
http://archive.stsci.edu/prepds/heritage/m16/
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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by BDanielMayfield » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:23 pm

Nitpicker wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:
geckzilla wrote:One hypothesis is that the pillars will face a shock wave from a recent supernova which will obliterate them in just 1000 years.
Interesting. Which recent super supernova is that?
See:
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/news/249 ... -Explosion
Thanks
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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by Guest » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:26 pm

Great Photo...

But it made me wonder just how much material (gas & dust) is actually there. And how many stars would it be able to produce. I know that star sizes vastly vary, but was thinking in terms of our own sun (and solar system). And assuming that these structures remain undisturbed by passing shock waves from the local supernova, just how many potential sun sized objects and solar systems are in there just waiting or have already been created? Kind of to give it some scale for the kids... :?:

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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by WickedLad » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:38 pm

I've often wondered as I look at APOD photos whether the apparent light and shadows are what my eyes tell me they are. (And the "Pillars of Creation" seem the most extreme example.) Are there really bright light sources where they appear to be, in this case, behind and above the subject structure? Do they really cast what look like shadows in the photo? Are there no bright light sources in front of or below the structure to cast light where there those shadows appear?

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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by Boomer12k » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:46 pm

Iconic indeed...amazing as always... :D

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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by geckzilla » Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:28 pm

WickedLad wrote:I've often wondered as I look at APOD photos whether the apparent light and shadows are what my eyes tell me they are. (And the "Pillars of Creation" seem the most extreme example.) Are there really bright light sources where they appear to be, in this case, behind and above the subject structure? Do they really cast what look like shadows in the photo? Are there no bright light sources in front of or below the structure to cast light where there those shadows appear?
What you are actually seeing is a complex set of glowing gases. Instead of thinking of what you see as light and shadows coming from the nearby stars, think of the structures themselves glowing gently. There are shadows in a sense because the energy of the stars is what is causing the gas to be energized and emit light so places where the gas does not receive enough energy are not glowing or are glowing more dimly.
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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by WickedLad » Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:34 pm

geckzilla wrote:
WickedLad wrote:I've often wondered as I look at APOD photos whether the apparent light and shadows are what my eyes tell me they are. (And the "Pillars of Creation" seem the most extreme example.) Are there really bright light sources where they appear to be, in this case, behind and above the subject structure? Do they really cast what look like shadows in the photo? Are there no bright light sources in front of or below the structure to cast light where there those shadows appear?
What you are actually seeing is a complex set of glowing gases. Instead of thinking of what you see as light and shadows coming from the nearby stars, think of the structures themselves glowing gently. There are shadows in a sense because the energy of the stars is what is causing the gas to be energized and emit light so places where the gas does not receive enough energy are not glowing or are glowing more dimly.
Very interesting! Thank you, Geck!

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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by gmPhil » Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:39 pm

Great image - this (or rather, the original in '95) was the first image I ever downloaded/saved from the Internet to my hard drive!

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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:02 pm

geckzilla wrote:[What you are actually seeing is a complex set of glowing gases. Instead of thinking of what you see as light and shadows coming from the nearby stars, think of the structures themselves glowing gently. There are shadows in a sense because the energy of the stars is what is causing the gas to be energized and emit light so places where the gas does not receive enough energy are not glowing or are glowing more dimly.
I'd say that the dominant thing we are seeing is dust structures, not glowing gases. The dust structures are directly illuminated by stars, and are also seen against a background of ionized gas. The dust casts shadows. I think it's perfectly proper to say that we're seeing light and shadows from nearby stars, just that most of it is stimulated, not reflected or scattered.
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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by geckzilla » Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:47 pm

Without all the glowing gas the dust would be nearly completely invisible. There are numerous examples of dark nebulas both being illuminated by a nearby star and not being illuminated and it looks much different from this. I don't see how any of these structures would be so well illuminated without a diffuse haze of glowing gas both surrounding them similarly to a fog and also the brighter glowing gas which is partially comprising the dust structures themselves.
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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:55 pm

geckzilla wrote:Without all the glowing gas the dust would be nearly completely invisible. There are numerous examples of dark nebulas both being illuminated by a nearby star and not being illuminated and it looks much different from this. I don't see how any of these structures would be so well illuminated without a diffuse haze of glowing gas both surrounding them similarly to a fog and also the brighter glowing gas which is partially comprising the dust structures themselves.
I'm certainly not sure, but it appears to me that the dust structures are primarily lit by direct starlight, not glowing gases. Certainly, they are made to stand out much more strongly by the glowing gas behind them.
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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by geckzilla » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:01 pm

Well, I may have emphasized the gas too much. You are right that some of it must be illuminated directly by starlight. In this narrowband image especially I think the glowing gas is dominating our perception of the pillars. But it is perhaps impossible to separate the two.
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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:08 pm

geckzilla wrote:Well, I may have emphasized the gas too much. You are right that some of it must be illuminated directly by starlight. In this narrowband image especially I think the glowing gas is dominating our perception of the pillars. But it is perhaps impossible to separate the two.
Also, this isn't strictly a narrowband image. We are also seeing a near IR continuum from 900-1700 nm. Stars aren't strong emitters there, but that range represents vastly more total energy than the three narrow visible bands collected in this image.
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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by geckzilla » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:35 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
geckzilla wrote:Well, I may have emphasized the gas too much. You are right that some of it must be illuminated directly by starlight. In this narrowband image especially I think the glowing gas is dominating our perception of the pillars. But it is perhaps impossible to separate the two.
Also, this isn't strictly a narrowband image. We are also seeing a near IR continuum from 900-1700 nm. Stars aren't strong emitters there, but that range represents vastly more total energy than the three narrow visible bands collected in this image.
The infrared data is not included in this image. Or am I misunderstanding you? I'm actually putting together a visible + IR image out of the freshly released FITS data right now!
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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by Freemind » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:37 pm

Who's to say the pillars are not living creatures except people whose minds are dwarfed through lack of imagination, which, Einstein said, was more important than knowledge.

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Re: APOD: Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of... (2015 Jan 0

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:44 pm

geckzilla wrote:The infrared data is not included in this image. Or am I misunderstanding you? I'm actually putting together a visible + IR image out of the freshly released FITS data right now!
Maybe not. When you follow the Fast Facts link for this image it suggests (strongly) otherwise. But I think that the little image at the bottom describes what they're actually trying to say. Badly. Very, very badly.
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