A few day ago, I presented to you a photograph on how human life begins. Now the question is, how did the world itself begin? It is a very contentious question. It is one of the most ancient and most puzzling questions whose answer is most sought after. People have searched, researched, debated and fought for what they consider as their opinion about the answer. Existence of religion, the most widely spread institution in the world, revolves around this very question. People have given theirs and taken others’ lives in order to bring home what they think is the “right” answer.
The schools of science and religion have been continuously fighting to establish that their version about the beginning of the world is correct. Science appeals to brain because it provides tangible evidences and logical hypotheses. Religion appeals to heart because it provides an invisible support via the concept of God. If you ask me, I find the explanations of both these schools inadequate. I am yet to makeup my mind about which one is closer to the truth.
Anyway, today’s famous photograph is a shot from the science side and it is called the “Pillars of Creation”. One of the most famous images from NASA; this amazingly beautiful photograph was taken by Jeff Hester and Paul Scowen using the Hubble Space Telescope in April 1995. It shows a large portion of the Eagle nebula in which star formation is going on. A nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases. Nebulae often form the star-forming regions in the space. The three “pillars”––which resemble stalagmites protruding from the floor of a cavern––are composed of interstellar hydrogen gas and dust, which act as incubator for new stars. Inside and on their surface astronomers have found knots or globules of denser gas, called EGGs (“Evaporating Gaseous Globules”). Stars are being formed inside these EGGs.
In 2014, the following high resolution photograph of Pillars of Creation was taken as a tribute to the original 1995 photograph. This new photograph was first shown in January 2015 at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle.
Now, as it happens in space, in early 2007, scientists using the Spitzer Space Telescope discovered evidence that potentially indicates that these Pillars were destroyed by a nearby supernova explosion about 6,000 years ago, but the light showing the new shape of the nebula will not reach Earth for another millennium!
It also means that though this image was taken in 1995 —what we see in the image actually did not exist in 1995… Confusing?… Well, the truth is that because our universe unimaginably huge; even light takes thousands (and sometimes millions and billions) of years to travel from various parts of the universe to Earth. What was seen by the Hubble in 1995 was just the light image of the Eagle nebula that reached us at that time. But it took 6000 years for this light to reach us. During this time the nebula had been destroyed by supernova. Therefore, what we saw did not exist at that time. We are so insignificant in comparison with the vastness of the universe!
This picture, Pillars of Creation, is composed of 32 different images from four separate cameras on board Hubble. The missing part at the top right is because one of the four cameras has a magnified view of its portion, which allows astronomers to see finer detail. So the images from this camera are scaled down in size to proportionally match the other three cameras.
What do you think of this photograph? Please comment and give your feedback as it helps me in writing better content for my readers. Thank you for reading and stay connected with my website as I will continue to bring stories on more iconic photographs for you.