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Happy Birthday, Hubble!


The most famous telescope in the world, after the one of Galileo in 1609, put into orbit in 1990, celebrates soon a quarter century of splendid service. NASA celebrates elegantly: presents the most famous cosmic image gallery of Hubble telescope, repeated and improved. These are the famous “Pillars of Creation”, the Pillars of Creation that, seen by Hubble in 1995, quickly made the rounds of the world, printed on T-shirts as on coffee mugs (American, given the size of the image). Now NASA publishes a second image, just made, deeper and more beautiful.

The famous image of “pillars of creation” Hubble

pillars-of-creation

Credit: (NASA / ESA)

The name “pillars”, given by discoverers, actually describes a group of clouds made of interstellar gas and dust that, by chance, have elongated shapes in the same direction. Turn the picture, though, and the pillars become roots, or stalactites, or carrots cosmic here … got to do the famous “gestalt”, the way we see the forms. “Creation”, however, is much more appropriate. Inside the photogenic clouds (invisible to the human eye), the material may condense widespread, collapsing, that is falling over itself because of the force that moves the whole Universe, gravity.
At the end of the collapse, a miracle, a star is born. That is, the matter becomes so dense and hot to turn on the nuclear reactions, the same ones that keep it turned on our sun. And usually the stars are not born alone, but in clusters, all together in and around those “pillars” is pouponnières glimpse of the stars just created. And if there are stars just created, there may be many newborn planets like our Earth was four or five billion years ago. Who knows how it will evolve.
The dimensions of the pillars, and also of the stellar nurseries, are astronomical, of course. The clouds of matter that Hubble has photographed are located in more than six thousand light years from us, and then our Sun, if it were there it would seem one of many starlets weak image. But of course you would not see a trace of a planetary system around him or, even less of a possible third planet of the system. This is also why it is hard to look at the picture without stopping to think about it.
Some of newborn stars are particularly hot (type twenty thousand degrees on the surface) and emit jets of ultraviolet radiation at high speed. Indeed, comparing the two images separated by 20 years it turns out that one of those jets has a measurable elongation: the cosmic matter moves, it seems alive.
Born together, the stars then die one by one, because they have different evolutions and lifespans. Some, the biggest in the end explode, returning to be gas and dust. In this way, the stars enrich the interstellar clouds of chemical elements produced during their lives in the explosion and final. It was created so that the calcium in our bones, the iron in our blood or gold earring that we have just given him for Christmas.

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