Friday, June 27, 2014

How Pillars of Creation May Have Formed Using Computer Animation

In 1995, the Hubble space telescope trained its' optics on a cloud of gas and dust inside the Eagle Nebula some 7 thousand light years from Earth. The resulting image became as iconic as the Apollo "Earth Rise" or Sagen's "Pale Blue Dot". That image became known as "The Pillars of Creation"

From the Space.Com article:
  • Scientists think the "pillars" in the image ... formed as cooler interstellar gas was worn away by intense radiation and powerful winds from nearby massive stars......

The massive stars in question that may have formed the "Pillars" were O-type stars, more than 16 times more massive than the sun.  O-type also have surface temperatures over 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scott Balfour, an astronomer at Cardiff University, wanted to see if type O stars, forming inside such a cloud of gas and dust, could indeed form structures like the pillars.   Condensed 1.6 million years of cosmic history into several weeks of computing time:
  • "The model neatly produces exactly the same kind of structures seen by astronomers in the classic 1995 image....." Balfour said in a recent statement.
Space.Com article HERE

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