Pillars of Creation

“Pillars of Creation” is the name of a formation in the Eagle Nebula in the constellation Hydra. In April 1995 the star forming regions about 7000 light years away were photographed with the Hubble Space Telescope. The pillars extend four light years into space and consist of interstellar matter. They are slowly eroding under the influence of high-energy electromagnetic radiation. As a result, bubbles consisting of molecular hydrogen and dust are exposed at their tips. Protostars are formed in these bubbles.

In the meantime, astronomical observation techniques have advanced to such an extent that spectacular objects such as the Pillars of Creation are within the range of comparatively small telescopes such as those offered by the STScI school lab. With one of the C11 telescopes in our school lab a total of 5h and 18min was exposed during the nights of 22nd to 23rd and 23rd to 24th June 2020 (48min for the hydrogen-alpha line, 120min in the light of the double ionized oxygen and 150min for luminous sulphur ions). As in the photos of the Hubble Space Telescope, the lights of sulphur-hydrogen-oxygen were combined to a false colour image instead of the primary colours red-green-blue.

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