This stunning image of The Pillars of Star Creation was taken in 2014 by Hubble Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3, which was installed in 2009. What you’re looking at is interstellar matter (known as elephant trunks) and gas, which are like incubators for new stars. They were located in the Eagle Nebula, 6,500-7,000 light years from Earth.
The Pillars of Star Creation was discovered in 1995 by Earthlings Jeff Hester and Paul Scowen. Astronomers have learned a great deal about star formation by studying these images. On the surface and inside the columns are knots of very dense gas, called EGGs “Evaporating Gaseous Globules,” which are basically star eggs. In many of these globules, stars are being formed.
We humans gave this stunning image a name that resonates with our hunger for meaning and love affair with poetry. The phrase itself is lifted from a 1857 sermon by London pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon called, “The Condescension of Christ.”
Pastor Spurgeon definitely had a way with words:
“And now wonder, ye angels, the Infinite has become an infant; he, upon whose shoulders the universe doth hang, hangs at his mother’s breast. he who created all things, and bears up the pillars of creation.”
Sadly, these beautiful pillars and the stars they carried like an expectant mother are probably all gone. Scientists believe these pillars have possibly been long ago destroyed by a supernova; their matter redistributed into the churning, silent space.
Their lights travels to us, long gone, but existing for us in this unfathomable present moment. Their history is a myth for us, conjuring nostalgia for everything we’ll never touch.
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