Magnetic fields may be propping up the Pillars of Creation | Science News

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Magnetic fields may be propping up the Pillars of Creation

The structure’s internal magnetism could mean the columns of gas and dust will be long-lived

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1:21pm, June 15, 2018
Pillars of Creation

PILLAR OF STRENGTH  Columns of cosmic gas and dust dubbed the Pillars of Creation (shown in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope) may be propped up by an internal magnetic field.

The Pillars of Creation may keep standing tall due to the magnetic field within the star-forming region.

For the first time, scientists have made a detailed map of the magnetic field inside the pillars, made famous by an iconic 1995 Hubble Space Telescope image (SN Online: 1/6/15). The data reveal that the field runs along the length of each pillar, perpendicular to the magnetic field outside. This configuration may be slowing the destruction of the columns of gas and dust, astronomer Kate Pattle and colleagues suggest in the June 10 Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Hot ionized gas called plasma surrounds the pillars, located within the Eagle Nebula about 7,000 light-years from Earth. The pressure from that plasma could cause the pillars to pinch in at the

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