Astronomers have been observing the Eagle Nebula and its famous “Pillars of Creation”
for years. The massive interstellar structure is one of the most photogenic sites in our galaxy,
with a view that even Hollywood couldn’t improve on. The pillars are so named because of their resemblance to Gothic arches. In 1995,
NASA released a photograph from the Hubble Space Telescope that became instantly famous for its depiction of these towering structures. However,
at that time, astronomers still didn’t have a full understanding of how this area came to look like it does today. Since then,
they have observed these locations multiple times to try and understand why they look the way they do now. Luckily, advances in camera technology enabled astronomers to see even more details than before.
Investigating the Pillars of Creation
Before delving into the creation of the Eagle Nebula, we first have to understand what it is.
The Eagle Nebula is a cloud of gas and dust that is located within the Milky Way. The nebula is named after its resemblance to an outline of an eagle. It is one of the most massive star-forming regions in the galaxy and is home to the Pillars of Creation.
The massive pillars are roughly 6.5 light years from Earth and consist of interstellar dust and gas that are being transformed by the intense ultraviolet radiation emitted by the young stars in the core of the nebula.
The pillars are estimated to be around 10 trillion kilograms (22 billion pounds) and are believed to be around 10 million years old.
Why Is It So Famous?
The Pillars of Creation are so famous because of the photograph that NASA released in 1995. The Hubble Space Telescope captured an image of the pillars at the peak of their formation.
The pillars were already old enough at that point that they were no longer growing towards the sky, but rather were slowly collapsing back to the ground. Yet this famous photograph was not actually the clearest view of the pillars that scientists had seen.
The Eagle Nebula is so massive and so distant from Earth that most telescopes could not capture a clear image of the pillars from their vantage points. The Hubble Space Telescope was so powerful that it could see the maximum detail of this nebula, but even it struggled with the size of the Eagle Nebula.
Hubble is stationed in low-Earth orbit, which is not nearly far enough away to see an entire nebula in one shot. A telescope in space can see much further than one on Earth, but it cannot see clearly all the way to the very edge of the atmosphere.
Telescopes on Earth can use extremely powerful lenses that can clear the atmosphere, but they also have a very small field of view. Powerful lenses are great for focusing on a very small part of the sky, but they are not useful for times when you want to see the entire sky at once.
How Was the New Telescope Created?
In order to get the clearest view of the Eagle Nebula, astronomers had to build a telescope that was powerful enough to see the entire nebula and far enough away from the atmosphere to get a clear view,
all while using a powerful enough lens to focus on the tiny pillars. The telescope they built to do all of this is called the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.
The LSST is currently the largest telescope under construction in the world. It is being built in Chile on the former site of a now-defunct telescope.
The LSST is designed to scan the entire night sky every few nights to create the first large-scale survey of the entire visible universe since the 1990s. The LSST will also be able to zoom in on objects to get the clearest view of Eagle Nebula ever.
A Clearer View of the Eagle Nebula
The LSST is expected to survey the Eagle Nebula in 2021, the same year that the telescope will be fully operational. Astronomers will use the LSST to get the clearest view of the nebula ever.
The telescope’s wide field of view and powerful lens will allow it to capture the entire structure at once. The LSST will have a wide field of view that is 100 times larger than Hubble’s field of view.
This means that it will be able to see the entire Eagle Nebula at once.
The telescope’s powerful lens will allow it to zoom in on the pillars to get a clear view of the tiny dust particles and clouds of gas that are forming new stars.
The Hubble Space Telescope has been one of the most important astronomical tools in history.
It has provided a better view of the universe than any telescope before it and has helped to revolutionize our understanding of space.
The LSST will be an even more revolutionary telescope that will allow us to study the universe in ways we have never been able to before.
Astronomers plan to use the LSST to get a clearer view of the Eagle Nebula than ever before. The famous “Pillars of Creation” are about to get a whole lot clearer for scientists as the LSST creates a clearer view of the famous structures.