Pillars of Creation will (probably) disappear in 3 million years

Back in 1995, the Hubble Space Telescope captured the iconic image of what we call the Pillars of Creation with all of its beautiful dust clouds and other trappings of space. According to the European Southern Observatory, those dusty billows, due to "intense radiation" and the stellar winds, will likely evaporate (or erode) completely in about three million years — a long time in human years, but not so much when it comes to the universe.

The Pillars of Creation lie in the Eagle Nebula, where the European Southern Observatory has used its Very Large Telescope — specifically the VLT's MUSE instrument — to create the first total and fully complete 3D view of the pillars. With these 3D views, researchers get an expanded look at the pillars and were able to spot some new details.

The Eagle Nebula is located approximately 7,000 lightyears away. In it, the less dense materials are being blown away by the aforementioned radiation and stellar winds, producing a sort of erosion of the pillars and other structures. The pillars' evaporation is illustrated by the new 3D assessment, as well as the pillars' orientation.

The left pillar, for example, has a tip that is facing us and is "bearing the brunt" of the intense radiation, making it appear brighter but perhaps meaning it'll be the first part to disappear. Says the ESO, the pillars lose approximately 70 times the Sun's mass every million or so years, and as such they're only expected to stick around another three million years.

VIA: Gizmodo