Mind Bomb 4: Pillars of creation
You may be wondering how are stars formed. Well they are formed within the clouds of dust. With turbulence deep within the clouds, these dust and gas of primary elements begin to collapse under its gravitational attraction. As it collapses, the material at the center heats up, forming what is to be the heart of a future star.
This heart, known as a protostar, accumulate gases and dust around it, and over MILLIONS (and MILLIONS~) of years later, the star grows in size and matures into the stars we know today.
Can't make sense of the above, well basically think about putting Milo (which will represent dust), into a hot bowl of water (representing space). When you pour a large amount of Milo in a concentrated part of the bowl, and use a spoon to spin it continuously, you will soon see some chunks of Milo. These chunks are stars in our experiment!
This is where the Pillars of Creation comes in. It is like a factory that is brewing stars at the moment, with chimney's the sizes of galaxies. The Pillars of Creations, from the Eagle Nebula, is big enough to fit a few of Milky Way Galaxy. As you can see, the entire formation is made of gases and dust, thus a perfect environment for star formations.
This amazing photograph was taking on April 1, 1995, with astronomers Jeff Hester and Paul Scowen responsible in capturing it.
Fun fact: The Pillars of Creation may already been destroyed. Astronomers had scene erosion in a part of the pillar, something that they have hypothesized was caused by a supernova - the explosive death of a star. Further estimations show that the supernova is big enough to wipe out the entire Pillars of Creation.
Why can't we be certain? Because everything we see up is our sky is back in time. While light is the fastest thing in the universe, it still has a speed limit, and so after a distance, we will actually have to wait for the light to get to us. That is we have the term "lightyear" - a distance of about 10 million million kilometres, a length that even light will need a year to travel at. The stars we are seeing know, are stars that have already emitted light millions of years ago, and they could already be gone. We just haven't seen the light of their explosion yet.
Therefore, with everything we see when we look up so far back in time, how would we know if the Pillars of Creation are still there?
Astronomers have estimated that we are likely see the effects of the supernova (if it did happen in the first place) in 1000 years, so while, waiting, just enjoy one of the wonders of space - The Pillars of Creation.