back to article Hubble 'scope snaps ENORMO SPACE ERECTION: Pillars of Creation 20 years on

Nearly 20 years ago, the Hubble space telescope took one of its most iconic pictures – the Pillars of Creation. Now a new image has been taken, showing how the star nursery has changed in the last two decades. Eagle Nebula comparison What a difference a couple of decades makes (click to enlarge) The image, presented at …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Actually sideways, dummy

    Limp brained pseudoboffinry that hasn't really even grasped Euclidean transformations, let alone Galileo's or Einstein's ideas. I'm sure your love life suffers, not knowing which way is up. Kinda cute in a way.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Actually sideways, dummy

      Up, down, or sideways... it still is a magnificent photo. I've grabbed the large one at the link for background. Just wonderful.

  2. Big-nosed Pengie

    Anyone who adds a modifier to "unique" - as in "very unique" should be shot into space in a canon to examine the pillars first-hand.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oxymorons Unite

      Ah the somewhat unmistakebly unique grumbles of anally retentive prescriptive grammarians are occasionally always a source of joy and wonder for us mere language users!

    2. Martin Silver badge

      First rule of corrections.

      You'll make a mistake in your correction.

      Cannon, not canon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: First rule of corrections.

        Well, you might be shot by a cannon, or with a Canon to get a photo. Being shot into space in either of them, or in a clergyman for that matter, would indeed be bizarre. But certainly unique.

      2. Marlboro Lights

        Re: First rule of corrections.

        Why not. Pachelbel's Canon in D major? I want a harp icon.

      3. johnnymotel

        Re: First rule of corrections.

        maybe he did that on purpose to test our spelling and to see if we are all awake

    3. Anonymous Coward

      @Big-nosed Pengie

      That's an unusual position to take. Dare I say its "very unique" :)

      (And I think you meant "cannon", unless you mean to pack someone into a copier and shoot them into space, or perhaps encase them in a body of ecclesiastical law and then orbit them)

  3. Winkypop Silver badge

    It's full of stars!


    We are but dust.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: It's full of stars!

      Upon first witnessing the glory and splendor of the Universe, they casually, whimsically, decided to destroy it, remarking, "It'll have to go."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's full of stars!


        Doubtless the Vogons need to tear down those pillars to make room for an interstellar parking lot.

    2. Dan Paul

      Re: It's full of stars!@ Winkypop

      Yes, Dust the wind (solar wind) Gets Coat

  4. Ru'

    Yeah, I know the imaging is fantastic, and I know the distances pictured are immense, but tbh I'm a bit meh about the miniscule changes shown. Surely only space-bothering boffins could get really excited by this?

    And having two lovely colour images side-by-side but not having the decency to scale them identically (unless the whole thing has got closer/further away?) is a bit poor.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And having two lovely colour images

    "And having two lovely colour images side-by-side but not having the decency to scale them identically (unless the whole thing has got closer/further away?) is a bit poor"

    As a bit of an astro person I cannot see the difference either between the two, so yes, similar scale would help a lot

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Usual taunt.

    Must be a slow news day at the Reg, this stuff happened millions of years ago!

    1. Ralara

      Re: Usual taunt.

      6500 years ago, actually

    2. FrogsAndChips

      Re: Usual taunt.

      1. Phil Endecott

        Re: Usual taunt.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Please don't use that word. I'm developing an allergy to it since encountering about 6 instances of it in just two pages of one of those cheap TV guide magazines. What the hell is it supposed to mean anyway?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "iconic"

      Never understood why resembling an icon is a good thing?

      It's just a little picture on a computer.

    2. Uffish

      Re: "iconic"

      Definition of iconic : of or relating to a cone, but with rounded corners.

  8. Alister

    Well I always thought they looked like a trio of interstellar Meerkats...


    1. Mister_C

      thus picture two allows you to compare the Meerkats.

      Mine's the maroon dressing gown

  9. Killing Time

    There was a link to these pictures on Slashdot yesterday, including one to this zoomable image of Andromeda.

    It's the dog's danglies!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      No, It's the hand of God. Giving us all the finger!

      1. Killing Time

        Re: @KillingTime

        I don't have any Faith, however I fully get your point. It does make you question your significance

        1. Canecutter

          Re: @KillingTime

          Actually I no longer question my significance.

          Compared to all the vastness and magnificence, I know that I, and the tiny corner of the Universe in which I live, is nothing but a mere speck of insignificance.

  10. earl grey

    i like it

    and the pictures of Andromeda. Thank you space boffins!

  11. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    I hope they now point the telescope at it more frequently. We might learn more, and/or get prettier piccies. Or it'll turn out to be like one of those cartoon flickbooks. It's basically the universe repeatedly giving us the finger...

    Or perhaps it's aliens with mind-bogglingly powerful ships doing likewise. Any species in the universe sufficiently advanced in stellar-manipulation to be able to create a V-sign nebula gets a visit from the ROU You Want Some Then, looking for a fight.

    1. SirAlan

      Nice to see another Culture citizen on the forums ;-)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Enough with the Sun/Daily Fail headlines!!!!

  13. MartinC

    Fascinating. It appears to me that a lot of the apparent differences are due to the relative proper motion of our solar system w.r.t. the eagle nebula. This proper motion allows us to see the nebula in 3-D, as our viewpoint has moved enough in 20 years to give us human-viewable parallax.

    If you resize the photographs on your monitor (windows photo viewer will do) so that both pictures represent the same solid angle and are the same size, and then position them side-by-side on your monitor, and then go cross-eyed so your left eye is pointing at the RH picture and your right eye at the LH picture, then the 3-d nature of the nebula jumps out at you.

    That part at the top, that I call the 'head', the part that is the fox's ear is clearly sticking out toward us, and the part that sticks out at the base of the neck, just above the shoulder, is pointing away from us, its the other arm! There are other 3-D details too, take a look!

    1. harmjschoonhoven

      No proper motion

      @MartinC: The Sun rotates with 250 km/s (0.000833c) at a distance of 32000 lj around the galactic center. That is ½ arcsec/century. In the timespan of 20 years galactic rotation can be measured by careful observations, but not as a stereo effect in a pair of HST photos of M16.

      So what you see is the internal dynamics of the Pillars of Creation.

  14. DJ

    Now we know for certain...

    ...that climate change is real. The evidence couldn't be more convincing.

    (Mine's the one with a healthy dose of skepticism in the pocket...)

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Awesome pictures!!

    I have to say that I am less able to see the changes discussed than others obviously are, but the pics are truly awe-inspiring anyway.

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