Pillars of Creation Toppled By Stellar Blast:
A new picture of the Eagle Nebula shot by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, presented here at the 209th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, show the intact pillars next to a giant cloud of glowing dust scorched by the heat of a massive stellar explosion know as a supernova.
“The pillars have already been destroyed by the shockwave,” said study leader Nicolas Flagey of the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale in France.
Astronomers think the supernova’s shock wave knocked the pillars down about 6,000 years ago. But because the Eagle Nebula is located some 7,000 light years away, the majestic pillars will appear intact to observers on Earth for another 1,000 years or so.