Feeds

Supernova topples Pillars of Creation

A while before we'll see it

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The famous "Pillars of Creation", the subject of the best known of Hubble's images, have already been blown apart by a supernova. We won't see their destruction here on Earth for another thousand years, but the astronomers making the claim estimate that the massive, star-forming pillars that make up the Eagle Nebula were obliterated almost 6000 years ago.

Pillars of Creation facing destruction?

In the image, captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the green areas are the relatively cool dust that makes up most of the nebula. However, the red portion shows an area of much hotter gas.

Astronomers suggest that the gas has been heated by a nearby supernova explosion, some 8,000 or 9,000 years ago, and around two thousand light years from the famous Pillars. The explosion might have been seen from Earth between one and two thousand years ago.

From our perspective the edge of the shockwave has still to reach the pillars, but NASA says that when it hit, the wave would have crumbled the towers, exposing the newly born stars within them. The catastrophe most likely triggered the birth of new stars, as well.

The area of heated dust was identified first in images from the European Space Agency's Infrared Space Observatory. NASA says Spitzer's longer wavelength observatory has been able to match the heating to a supernova event.

Naturally not all stargazers concur: New Scientist.com reports that at the 209th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, some delegates proposed other reasons for the heating.

Stephen Reynolds of North Carolina State University told the news site he thought it unlikely that a supernova event in the region would have gone unnoticed until now. He argues that super-heated stellar winds would be sufficient to explain the observations. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.