APOD: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula (2022 Sep 25)

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APOD: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula (2022 Sep 25)

Post by APOD Robot » Sun Sep 25, 2022 4:05 am

Image The Fairy of Eagle Nebula

Explanation: The dust sculptures of the Eagle Nebula are evaporating. As powerful starlight whittles away these cool cosmic mountains, the statuesque pillars that remain might be imagined as mythical beasts. Featured here is one of several striking dust pillars of the Eagle Nebula that might be described as a gigantic alien fairy. This fairy, however, is ten light years tall and spews radiation much hotter than common fire. The greater Eagle Nebula, M16, is actually a giant evaporating shell of gas and dust inside of which is a growing cavity filled with a spectacular stellar nursery currently forming an open cluster of stars. This great pillar, which is about 7,000 light years away, will likely evaporate away in about 100,000 years. The featured image is in scientifically re-assigned colors and was taken by the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.

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daddyo
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Re: APOD: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula (2022 Sep 25)

Post by daddyo » Sun Sep 25, 2022 5:47 am

That’s a really interesting apparent connecting trail of material. I wonder what it might look like in a projected time lapse, to get a sense of where it may have begun and where it’s going.

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Ann
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Re: APOD: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula (2022 Sep 25)

Post by Ann » Sun Sep 25, 2022 7:36 am

daddyo wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 5:47 am That’s a really interesting apparent connecting trail of material. I wonder what it might look like in a projected time lapse, to get a sense of where it may have begun and where it’s going.
Eagle Nebula T A Rector annotated.png

Take a look at the picture of the Eagle Nebula that the Fairy pillar is a part of. Look at the annotated picture. Can you find the Fairy?

Can you also find the Pillars of Creation, which I have also annotated?

Okay. Note that the tallest of the Pillars of Creation is almost touching a "Dust Mountain", or perhaps teh "mountain" resembles a cosmic stalactite hanging down from a "dust roof"?


Here's the deal. This entire area was originally a thick dark dust cloud. Nothing to see here!


Then a cluster of massive stars started forming in the center of the dark dust cloud. It works like this:


Note that we see a "dust mountain" and some "pillars of creation" in the Flame Nebula, too:

Flame Nebula infrared X rays annotated.png

The strong winds from the hot stars, as well as the torrent of ultraviolet photons that they release, blow away the gas and dust that the star cluster was born from. The nebula is hollowed out from within. When the nebula is blown away, the thickest parts of it "stay on" longer. The "heads" of the dust clouds shield the dust and gas immediately below them, creating long "stems" or, indeed, pillars.


The Fairy nebula was originally "attached" to the opaque dust wall whose innards gave birth to the hot cluster inside. There was more dust and gas in the "head" of the Fairy than average in the evaporating nebula, making the Fairy one of the last pillars standing.

What will happen to the Fairy? It will, sadly, disintegrate and disappear over time.

Ann
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Re: APOD: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula (2022 Sep 25)

Post by ERG » Sun Sep 25, 2022 2:39 pm

Can you please explain how light can sculpt these inter-stellar clouds. The clouds are made up of particulate matter, while the light is made of photons, which have no mass. If photons have no mass, how can they impact with the dusts particles and move them?
Thanks, Ed

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Re: APOD: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula (2022 Sep 25)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sun Sep 25, 2022 2:48 pm

ERG wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 2:39 pm Can you please explain how light can sculpt these inter-stellar clouds. The clouds are made up of particulate matter, while the light is made of photons, which have no mass. If photons have no mass, how can they impact with the dusts particles and move them?
Thanks, Ed
Photons have no rest mass. Meaning that if they were not moving, they would be massless. But photons always travel the same speed - c. Which means they effectively do have mass (or behave as if they do). More precisely, they have momentum (which classically is mass x velocity... it's a little more complex when considering this in term of quantum theory, but the concept is the same). When photons collide with matter, they transfer momentum. The result is that the velocity of the matter is altered, and the energy of the photon is altered.
Chris

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Re: APOD: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula (2022 Sep 25)

Post by DL MARTIN » Sun Sep 25, 2022 3:34 pm

Thanks, Chris, for the explanation.

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Re: APOD: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula (2022 Sep 25)

Post by orin stepanek » Sun Sep 25, 2022 4:21 pm

FairyPillar_Hubble_960.jpg
A photo of the Fairy! Not the best looker by any means; :lol2: but a
good photo anyway! 8-)
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Re: APOD: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula (2022 Sep 25)

Post by heehaw » Sun Sep 25, 2022 8:34 pm

I'm always puzzled as to WHY it is that we find endless pictures of filthy dust tremendously attractive: but we do! I certainly do.

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Re: APOD: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula (2022 Sep 25)

Post by johnnydeep » Sun Sep 25, 2022 8:37 pm

heehaw wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 8:34 pm I'm always puzzled as to WHY it is that we find endless pictures of filthy dust tremendously attractive: but we do! I certainly do.
Personally, I find most nebulae to be ho-hum when compared to even the smallest galaxies. "Hot young stars sculpt cold dark gas": big whoop! :ssmile:
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Re: APOD: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula (2022 Sep 25)

Post by heehaw » Sun Sep 25, 2022 10:52 pm

johnnydeep wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 8:37 pm
heehaw wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 8:34 pm I'm always puzzled as to WHY it is that we find endless pictures of filthy dust tremendously attractive: but we do! I certainly do.
Personally, I find most nebulae to be ho-hum when compared to even the smallest galaxies. "Hot young stars sculpt cold dark gas": big whoop! :ssmile:
Right! And with many galaxies, you can legitimately wonder if maybe someone is ... looking back at YOU!

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Re: APOD: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula (2022 Sep 25)

Post by Rauf » Mon Sep 26, 2022 4:48 am

This APOD is good wallpaper material for smartphones :)
I recommend trying it. It is awesome :D

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Re: APOD: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula (2022 Sep 25)

Post by daddyo » Mon Sep 26, 2022 5:45 am

Thanks Ann. Maybe someone might figure out someday how to animate this based on measurements throughout the cloud.