Wonders of our Universe!

Dive into the cosmic ocean... the Universe you live in....
Lets go on a Voyage! Lets explore the Wonders of OUR Universe!
We are merely explorers of infinity, in the pursuit of absolute perfection.
Follow Me
Reality: A Complex Web of Illusions?

Is Reality Real?


What is real and what is not? What can be classified as truth and false? Can anything be universally called 'real' or is it just human perception? After all, our tiny brain can be so easily deceived. So what makes something real? Or is there no reality at all? Consider the book next to you, it will always be there if you don't move it right? So that is the reality! Well, is it? Honestly, I don't know the answer. But here are some phenomenons and theories in Physics which would certainly befuddle you and question REALITY....

Let's start with something simple. For those who understand some basic science are aware of the fact that similar charges always repel each other. For those who're not familiar with this. Consider the charges as the two north or south poles of a different magnet who're kept very close to each other, naturally, they will try to reach a position as far as possible. Now that we've understood this basic principle, let's apply it to everything around us. We all are made up of atoms. Atoms, irrespective of the element, have a positively charged nucleus and negatively charged electron(s). Now try to bring two atoms close, keeping in mind the principle we just read about. It would be impossible to make any kind of contact between the two atoms due to the electrostatic repulsion between them. I won't complicate things now. So the fact is, that whenever you touch someone or hold something in your hand, you are never actually touching it because the laws of physics, actually the laws nature do not allow you to do so! If you're not touching it, then how do you feel it? In simple words, it the resistance you're feeling, and not the substance itself. There breaks your bubble of reality, doesn't it? 

Who would have thought that the sense or the feeling of touching your pet or your loved ones was not the soft fur or skin or the fresh food you just baked but the resistive forces between the atoms? If you think about it, your bodies were refusing to come in contact 'for real'. Just kidding, except I'm not!

From what we've understood, everything that we considered as 'implied reality' (which does not require explanation) until now was never real at all?

Here's a good ol' Einstein quote to keep you interested (not that I admit this is going to get too complicated)



There are a few theories in Physics proposed by distinguished scientists namely the Theory of Relativity, Quantum Entanglement, Matter Wave Theory and the list just goes on. Well, we all must admit that Physics has always been mind boggling!

Lets talk about the The Theory of Relativity proposed by Albert Einstein for which he received the Nobel Prize (Nobel Prize is a really big deal people!). Einstein proposed the concept called 'Time Dilation'. And it is just what it means. Time can actually change! This means that time may be flowing slower for you or faster than the time for me. Basically, time is not universal but a very personal thing. It may be a bit to wrap your head around this, possibly because a lot of us don't perhaps have the same understanding of 'time' as the scientist do. Allow me to quote The Doctor from Doctor Who, it is 'wibbly wobbly time-wimey" stuff. Time does not just flow, it is a part of the fabric of space. A second on earth does not have to be the same duration in some nearby galaxy. Pretty crazy when you don't have 'time' as a standard of reference right? Einstein proposed that time and space are not different but the same and he called it 'space-time' which is omnipresent(at least in our own universe). What Einstein said was that acceleration decreases the flow of time for you. The faster you go, the slower the time is for you. But you won't know it as time is what we always use as a reference because we consider is the same for everyone. We always use it as a standard of reference but if time itself has slowed down for you, how could you possibly know that? Is it because the constant flow of time is what makes you feel real? And this is why, the duration of a jiffy may not be a jiffy but a whole week for someone out there. But that does complicate things for that person, because as I said, time is personal. As long as you know it's a jiffy, there is no denying. This does not have an effect on anything unless there's an observer having his own reference of time. This also proves that time is relative. What if time was to stop for you and then start again and then stop, how would you possibly realize that? Because everything basically ceases to exist without the flow of time. Who knew time could be such an important factor for our existence. But could there be something that does not need time?

I know it's a bit complicated but this video offers a much better explanation with a different example:



Now let's talk about Quantum Entanglement. Quantum Physics is a relatively new branch of Physics going back to only a couple of decades. If you were to ask me what's the most fascinating field of Physics, it would be Quantum Physics and the theory would be Quantum Entanglement(at least for now)! Everything about this is both wonderful and stupid at the same time. What quantum entanglement teaches us is that when you have two particles which are 'identical' in every aspect, then they both will go through the same changes irrespective of their position in space. Consider a pair of subatomic particles with a negative charge having some definite spin. If you somehow separate these two particles and place them on two different ends of the Earth and then change the spin of only one of the two particles, the other one on the other side of the planet would immediately change its spin by the same magnitude and sign! Just imagine what the science behind this would be? Consider that the two particles were separated and taken to two different galaxies a few light years away and one of them was to be changed. According to quantum entanglement theory, the other particle would have to show that change. But now listen to this, nothing can travel faster than light, not even information! And the speed of light is 299,792,458 km/sec. How can this be possible at all? Well, that's quantum physics for you. If we could get a breakthrough in this, transfer of information across the universe to its very edge would literally take not time! Ponder over the possibilities and  keep the flame of curiosity burning inside you! Theories like these compel you to question reality. They make everything you supposed to be true as a mere illusion!



What if you were never human but only a brain in a laboratory somewhere? What if you were just a part of a computer simulation (Matrix lovers, are you here?) or just a character of a video game with an evolved conscience? Or even worse, just a dream?



Don't worry, these questions won't be left unanswered but that doesn't imply that I know the answers to them, or maybe I do but the computer simulation restricts me from that? Wait for the next blog post!

.....................................................................................TO BE CONTINUED




ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission a

GRAND SUCCESS!


Mars meets MOM!


India's name was engraved in the history books when Indian Space Research Organization's Mars Orbiter Mission was successful in it's maiden voyage to enter into Mars' orbit. India also became the first every Asian country and the fourth country on the globe to reach Mars. A key feature of this mission was its cost efficiency. India was able to successfully launch this mission at a cost of just $72 million! This amount is relatively less as compared to the $672 million MAVEN Mars Orbiter launched by NASA and even less than the Hollywood Oscar-Winning film Gravity which costed a $100 million. Not only this, India's Mars mission was completely indigenous. The entry into Mars' atmosphere was India's first attempt to enter into the Elite Space Club which included powerful space organizations like NASA, ESA and Soviet Space Program

Artist's rendering of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)


This achievement of the developing nation and largest democracy in the word - India was acknowledged all of the world. India also has plans of sending an Indian-Astronaut on the Moon in the year 2020. 

The Mars Orbiter Mission or MOM is special as well as incredibly important for India in order to march towards becoming a developed nation. MOM was launched on 5th November 2014 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre situated in Sriharikota, India. The scientists at ISRO were successful in entered the orbiter into Mars' orbit on 24th September 2014. It was a historic moment for all the Indians as well the whole world. India became the first every country on the planet to be successful in its first ever mission. This also proved that developing countries like India with with not-so-modern technological equipment's and a tight budget and can send indigenous spacecrafts to Mars!

The Mars Orbiter even started tweeting after its insertion into Mars' orbit. 
The orbiter's first tweet? "What is red, is a planet and is the focus of my orbit?"
Second tweet? "I'll be back after breakfast. Good ol' sunlight. It's good for your battery."

The Orbiter also tweet to NASA's Curiosity Rover:
"Howdy @MarsCuriosity ? Keep in touch. I'll be around."
 
The Rover replied: "Namaste, @MarsOrbiter! Congratulations to @ISRO and India's first interplanetary mission upon achieving Mars orbit."

The Mars Orbiter also sent back some high definition pictures of Mars from its orbit:





Not only this, but the Orbiter has also sent a 3-D image of Mars!



Being an Indian, it's a very proud moment! The Indian Gov. received criticism for spending INR 450 crore(about $75 million) on this mission when people in the country are suffering from malnutrition, unemployment and lack of basic facilities.

To such people : Please read the facts provided below.

The fact that Mangalyaan was funded INR 450 crores by the Indian Govt. is true. But it is also true that the amount above is only 0.0039% of India's GDP.  For a country like India in today's world, it is essential to develop as well maintain growth which are two completely different factors. Any government must allot a certain amount of money for scientific research and development. The Indian Govt. provides just 0.038% of it's G.D.P to ISRO which is comparatively nil compared to the thousands of crores being spent of the initiatives for upliftment of the Indian society.  

  • U.S and India to collaborate on Mars Mission:



Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Barack Obama


The newly elected Prime Minister of the 1.25 billion population country- India visited the United States of America. PM Narendra Modi meet the United States President Barack H. Obama and the two nations have agreed to collaborate with each other for Mars Exploration Missions. This is a huge step for both countries as well as the world for the growth of space-exploration. This will also hopefully strengthen the Indian Economy.

My personal opinion is that whatever happens, the scientific community should strive in the name of SCIENCE! It is science that will continue to exist but not political parties, nations, governments even public opinion! Explore the wonderful universe without any vicarious intentions by simply being altruistic.



How Far Have We Come ?

How Far We Have Come


The Universe we know about came into existence about 13.8 billion years ago. That very moment, everything around you see around yourself burst out from a singularity. If you consider the Universe infinite in size, you can say that the Big Bang happened everywhere, even in the exact place where you are sitting right now. There was no matter in the early stages of the universe and not even light existed then. It was only about 380,000 years later that the light from the Big Bang embarked on an eternal journey which scientists now call the CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation). 

Cosmic Microwave Background (Source:Wikipedia)


Quite a lot has happened since then, for instance, 13.8 BILLION Years have passed! Hundreds of millions of stars that light up our night sky have and are still being created in stellar nurseries. Planets and galaxies were created forming clusters of giant Galaxies. These galaxies now host hundreds of billions of stars which are probably shelter to thousands of billions of planets. These numbers sound way too big right? But that's not it, the universe also gave birth to some fascinating structures like Supernovae which mark the death of a star, Neutron stars that are incredibly dense and have extreme rotational velocity and mysterious stuff like Black Holes which can't even be precisely defined right now. But a lot more has happened here itself on our blue planet Earth. Some of which isn't even related to the physical phenomenons produced by this Universe. It is believed that our Sun is 5 Billion years old and the same is for our Planet. Data collected strongly suggests that our planet and the 7 neighbor planets were created from the Sun during our star's formation. This can be related to how the Moon was created from our Planet Earth.

Life is supposed to have started by chance in a primordial soup(pond) of organic chemicals about 3.6 Billion Years ago. There is still a debate on whether the reactants responsible to kick start Life on our planet were transported by meteors from other worlds or resulted from fortunate combination of compounds present on Earth. It wasn't until 3.4 Billion years ago that cyanobacteria started performing photosynthesis. These unicellular organisms evolved into complex life including everything you see around in "nature". The lovely fragrance of the lilacs, the cheerful face of a Dolphin, the yawn of a kitten (are you reading Salma?), all of that exists due to a chemical reaction dating 3.6 billion years back. Humans have wandered the planet for only 200,000 years now and I think we have accomplished a LOT though it's still very LESS. First humans are said to have lived in Africa who then traveled to other continents. The first humans to have lived in the Continent of Americas date back only 14,500 years. Not even close compared to the 5 billion year old Earth and Solar System. 


Destruction of Earth by Humans


It took more than a billion years for complex life to evolve from unicellular organisms after origin of Life but it took only 14,500 years for Earth to witness countless conflicts(literally) , fall and rise of great empires, two shattering World Wars , murders of millions of innocents, depletion of resources which took eternity to be formed, division of land on the basis of color and views, etc. Seriously, do you want to be remembered as a part of a civilization responsible for all this? 


Keeping that aside, in just about 15000 years of existence, Humanity has gathered and produced a plethora of information. The flame of curiosity in the souls of humans has helped humanity reach the frontiers of science and other fields. The internet you're using right now is an excellent example. We started from the forests and now live in the concrete forests we built ourselves from our thinking(irrespective of whether we like living in it or not). We humans learned the art of survival from nature and now have completely changed our way of living, survival still exists but not exactly in the 14000 year old form. Today's survival depends on how well you score on your test or how good of a person you are in your society. Your strength or your physical ability is nothing but just a hobby today which would have been considered the most important factor for survival back then. We built civilizations that were controlled by a single ruler, created systems that ran a whole country and what not. Our imagination paved the way to almost every place we dared to discover. In only 400-500 years, we turned from using pigeons to instant messaging for communication. We are now able to keep surveillance on a bottle of water from hundreds of kilometres above surface. 





Great minds like Nikola Tesla, Sir Isaac Newton, C.V.Raman, Albert Einstein, Ramanujan walked and died on this planet. We have developed machines that execute work once thought to be impossible by the highest of intelligence. Invention of electronics like telescopes which enable us to stare back into the history of our Universe has only become possible in the last few hundred years. There are our representatives out there like Voyager and Cassini and Rosetta who have voyaged distances no man-made product has ever achieved. We landed on moon just a few decades back but our knowledge of the universe beyond it is literally jaw-dropping and we still continue to explore this uncharted territory once thought to be inconceivable to the human brain. We have created and managed to run super-organisms like cities and countries. And I can't even imagine what else can we concur in the coming years, decades, centuries and millenniums! Humanity can be considered as a light of hope for this Universe to understand itself, maybe that's the reason the Universe created us... or maybe not. 



Today, the whole world runs by the tick of the clock. Each and every second, thousands of millions of dollars worth transaction takes place, lives change, economies build up, societies change,etc. We live in this chaotic world where everything seems so well organized. But wait, we didn't start like this. At the beginning, it was just a bunch of tribes living their lives with the only aim being survival. It is clear, over the period of time, which is not very long on the Cosmic scale, that we've CHANGED the game "nature" planned out for us. I think it's fair to say that we've really come quite far for where we once started... but the journey's not over yet...it will never be...



The Search For The Origin Of Life 

Life On Earth (Source: Discovery Channel/Google Images)

Life is present anywhere and everywhere we see; in the trees, the plants, the birds, the animals and even in the most remote places on this planet. It can survive the greatest of destruction's, the grandest of explosions and still continue to thrive. Such an amazing thing life is! While "some" humans are trying to find out whether "life" is present only on our planet Earth, we might be closing in to finding the origin of life on this pale blue dot.  

ESA's Rosetta Spacecraft :

Rosetta Spacecraft Model

 The ESA or the European Space Agency launched a space probe named Rosetta more than a decade ago on 2 March 2004. Rosetta was sent to perform a detailed study of its target, a comet named 67P/Churyumove-Gerasimenko. Rosetta space probe has been racing towards the comet since 10 years and has traveled a whooping 4 billion miles. The spacecraft after its launch has orbited our planet Earth thrice and the red planet Mars once as part of its trajectory. The purpose of this winding path around the two planets was to use the gravity of these two planets for a speed boost. Along with that, during its 10 year period before closing in on the target comet, Rosetta also flew by asteroids - Steins and Lutetia. During its decade long journey, the spacecraft also went into Deep Space Hibernation for 31 months and then woke up from hibernation to finally get into orbit around its prey comet - 67P/C-G or Cherry-Gerry(its nickname). 


Rosetta is the first ever space probe to rendezvous with a comet. The probe inserted itself into the orbit around 67P on the 6th of August'14 and will continue to do so for some time. The probe has now reduced the relative velocity between itself and the comet to just 1 m/s which I believe is itself a great achievement for those controlling Rosetta from our home planet. The probe won't itself land on the comet but will deploy a lander named "Philae Lander" on the surface of the comet 67P. The lander is equipped with ice screws on its legs and harpoons as the comet's gravity isn't strong enough to hold the Philae on its surface. The lander weighs 100 kg and is the most important part of the mission. The lander will collect samples of water vapor, dust surface of the comet, analyse it and send the data back to the Space Agency on Earth. One of its objective is to study the chemical composition of hydrogen in the water on the comet. If it is the same as that to the hydrogen here on Earth, it will suggest that comets might have filled up our Oceans when they smashed into our planet many billion years ago. The Philae Lander has been scheduled to land on 67P in November 2014 if everything goes well.  
      
First Pictures sent by Rosetta when it approached comet 67P/C-G to enter into its orbit :

Closest Picture by Rosetta

Rosetta Appraching the Comet 

Comet Activity
 One of the most primary objective of the Rosetta Spacecraft is to find out whether the comet is home to any of the chemical compounds responsible for LIFE. If such is the case, there exists a very strong possibility that life might have started on our planet due to some compounds from another world, the comet being the transporter. Scientists have always been fascinated by the idea of life originating on other planets. The concept that a comet from outer space initiated the process of life on our little blue planet is rather bewildering. Just imagine, that the foundation of every living thing around you was laid on some very distant planet which we might not even be aware of, and only a piece of icy-rock that slammed into our planet is the reason of us being here today reading this blog post. Incredible, isn't it? But, this is just one possibility of the array of possibilities....

"Rosetta Spacecraft has created history as it is the first EVER probe to orbit a comet and hopefully land on it. There are endless possibilities to what the Philae Lander after landing on the comet may reveal to us here on Earth. Whatever it may be, I think we humans should be prepared to be amazed! Since its origin, man has only looked around and has had the curiosity to find out why does something exist and how it got there. I think its time we find out how WE got here......"


EDIT(08/20/2014) : Comparison of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko to the City of Los Angeles.


Comet 67P comparison to Los Angeles
Source : All Science, All the Time(FB)


Theory Of General Relativity Passes TOUGHEST Test Yet...

Theory of General Relativity - Gravity

It's been almost 100 hundred years since the one of the greatest theoretical-physicist, Albert Einstein published his Theory Of General Relativity(1916) which laid the foundation of modern physics. Before I write further, here's what General Relativity means :

The Theory Of General Relativity helps explain the force of gravity in terms of a four dimensional space-time. It was based on the idea that the laws of science should be the same for any observer irrespective of their velocity.


Like the name suggests, general relativity is a "theory" and not a fundamental law. A theory is considered a law when it can be applied to every single thing it talks about. This is obtained by experimental observations. Scientists have been making calculations and studying macro-objects like galaxies,etc. since the past century only to find that Albert Einstein's General Theory has been consistent with them(not Special Relativity). But you can't take anything for granted because the next finding could contradict what a proposed theory suggests and therefore refute it(which has happened with many!)

The BOSS(Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey) studied more than 600,000 galaxies(only a small fraction of whats out there) to measure the interaction of their gravity. These are said to be the most precise calculations of the gravitational interaction between galaxies. This was the toughest test that the theory of relativity had to face due to its scale of observation and precision. That's what makes it special, because the General Theory of Relativity has succeeded in explaining this phenomenon too! 


Credit - BOSS / Univ. of Portsmouth

Studying 600,000 galaxies isn't certainly an easy task. Almost all the galaxies are a part of a cluster called "galaxy clusters" which makes it even difficult to determine the individual gravitational effect as these galaxies tend to fall inwards. The BOSS team was able to calculate the force of the gravity with a precision of 6% which is a lot though it doesn't seem like. The predictions made by the General Theory of Relativity look to be "perfectly" consistent as written by Astronomy.com. The General Theory of Relativity has helped modern-physics reach the forever extending peak of science. The predictions made by Albert Einstein in his theories have been consistent everywhere and every time. 

"Lets remember the man, Albert Einstein, one of the greatest thinkers to ever walk this planet and shape modern-physics thereby helping us open one of the many uncharted doors to this Wonderful Universe! "


VOYAGER - 1

Voyager 1 

Voyager 1 is a space probe drifting through the vast, dark and never ending realm in the heavens. One cannot imagine the distance it has traveled,the silence it has observed and how lonely it has been for the past 36 years. YES! 36 YEARS...  

Why would you want to know about it? NASA has sent out so many probes... how'd you be benefited from knowing about Voyager 1 ? Basically, what makes Voyager so special



  • THE STORY OF VOYAGER 1  

This extra-ordinary piece of equipment(then) was launched by NASA. It was manufactured by JPL or Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The probe weighs about 722 kilograms.The intent was to explore the far reaches of our Solar System which is 1 light years across. The space probe sends data to and receive commands from the Deep Space Network[DSN]. The space probe has flown by Saturn , Jupiter and many and has encountered many other celestial object. Launched on 5th September 1977 the space-probe has been collecting data day-and-night since 36 years,6 months and 6 days(as of 11th March 2014). I don't think it'd be wrong to say that Voyager-1 is our "Cosmic Representative".

Speaking on it's "importance"... Voyager isn't just any ordinary probe which collects information and sends it back to our Planet Earth. It is an element of our presence in this universe(at least the Solar System). The probe is out there to make our presence felt! That there are HUMANS living somewhere, that we are more than just curious to know what's out there and that we want to know if we humans have any "neighbor(s)". The probe has provided us with such valuable information and some mind-boggling images that will make you ponder about our EXISTENCE


  • The Pale Blue Dot


The Pale Blue Dot by Voyager 1

That is "us"! Everything around you, and on this planet,is that hardly visible point in the frame! That is OUR Planet Earth.... Feel very small right? Voyager 1 took this AMAZING picture on 14th February 1990 from a staggering distance of about 6 Billion Kilometers(3.7 billion miles) Orbiting our star , the Sun within the deep darkness of the space. But the "pond-creatures" I wrote about in my first post still don't care to THINK about it, our existence and our uniqueness! This isn't the view from outside our Solar System or some very far-away place. If we're so "insignificant" on this scale, what would our importance be on a galactic level? HOW much there is to explore! The million dollars you possess is nowhere compared to this spectacle. Now think how small our sphere of thought is?!

  • The Sounds Of Earth
The Sounds of Earth on Voyager 1
The crew behind the space probe Voyager also had something else in their mind. They wanted this probe to make our presence felt wherever it goes. So, they mounted a vinyl record containing almost most musical notes, languages, diversity,etc present on our Planet. It has images, natural and artificial sounds of the diversity on Earth. It's an attempt to make the extra terrestrial life(if any) provide information about our planet and ourselves beforehand. The possibility of this happening is almost negligible. But that's what makes us humans,we don't just give up! We hope for the "best" or at least try to! The space probe is supposed to work until 2025 when it will stop generating enough power for it's components which would certainly be a depressing moment in the lives of those who were behind the project. Because this is the probe that represents us in the vast cosmic "ocean" out there. The ocean we haven't ever physically voyaged. This Voyager, the creation of us human beings is our HOPE . It's our eyes to view the distant stars and stellar beauties. 



"This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours."
                                                             
                                   — U.S. President Jimmy Carter



The Blog Post was inspired by Cosmos : A Space-Time Odyssey hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

PILLARS OF CREATION

Pillars of Creation (Source - Wikipedia/NASA)

  • What are the "Pillars Of Creation" ?
  • Why is it important?
  • Really that far?
  • So big?
  • Is it dead?


What are the "Pillars Of Creation" ?


>>>> The "Pillars Of Creation" is an incredibly wonderful thing! It's a photograph taken by the renowned Hubble Telescope in the year 1995. The location of this image is 7,000 light years from Earth and located in the Eagle Nebula.(Yes, it's Seven Thousand Light Years!) It's nothing but just a multi-colored picture of a gigantic cloud gas and dust. Curious why it's "Pillars Of Creation" then? This very cloud of gas and dust is where the stars come to BIRTH! This is one of the many,many nurseries of stars out there! Yes, Stars are formed in such visually beautiful places... The basic composition of these gas pillars is cool molecular Hydrogen. This wasn't taken in just one picture. 32 different images from 4 different cameras were used to form the above image. Due to the magnified lens of the cameras, the stair shaped pattern at the top right was formed. Wonder why it's so colorful? The green light is due to Hydrogen, red being from Sulfur which was singly-ionized and blue is from the doubly-ionized Oxygen atoms.

Herschel Observatory Image



Why is it important?

>>>> The Pillars are of great important for cosmological studies about the conditions,elements,space required for the Birth Of Stars.The Nebula is located about 7,000 light years but still can be viewed from a decent telescope in your backyard! Till date, the pillars have provided the space researchers with essential information regarding the birth of various types of stars. Also, astronomers haven't been able to detect quite a lot of "nurseries" located at such distance. It was a remarkable achievement for the scientists when the Pillars of Creation was pictured. The location of this Nebula might not be at an ideal location from Earth but is enough for researchers to get the required data. Scientists were not able to study the formation of stars until the Pillars were found by Jeff Hester and Paul Scowen then at Arizona State University. The iconic pillars have been a subject of interest since detected!

Image from Observatory located on Earth (Pillars in the middle)

Really that FAR ?

>>>> These Pillars are located at a distance of about 7000 light years from Planet Earth. Wanna know how far that is? Then let's do some calculations first ...

1 Light Year9.4605284 × 1015 meters 
                     =  9.4605284 × 1012 kilometers
so, it's approximately about 9.4 with 12 zeros after it. Imagine how much would it be for 7000 Light-Years!  You do the math!

Seriously that Big ?
Source - FQTQ

 First, take a look at the picture >

Look carefully and you'll see a small finger-like image at the top of this pillar. Can you imagine how vast is it? Well, it's the size of our solar system!!! I guess "befuddled" would be the correct word to express anyone's brains situation after reading that. 
The pillars are so long that the measure is not expressed in millions or trillions of kilometers but Light Years! This pillar is the left most pillar and is approximately 4 light years in length. 
Again, we're gonna do some basic calculations,
There's 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour. And then there are 24 hours in a day. 365 days in a month and the length is 4 years(sounds funny right?) and the last; 299,792 i.e. the speed of light.

60 X 60 X 24 X 365 X 4 X 299792 = 37816962048000 Km. 
or 
37 Trillion 816 Billion 962 Million 48 Thousand Kilometers :)

Now that's just the size of these "giants". Remember the calculation we previous made about the relation between 1 Light Year and Km's? Try to apply that hear and be ready to face what I say, "moments of cosmic numbness". Moving on then...

So, it's DEAD ?

Maybe Dead? (Source - FQTQ)
Whenever you look at the sky every night, everything you see is the past! All of it! It may be some seconds,hours,days and even thousands of years..but the PAST. Back to our topic, see the red gas in the image above? That's the gas in that cosmic region heated up due.The reason for this is a spectacular yet calamitous event, a supernova. Supernova is an exploding star,one of the most amazing events of our Universe. Theories suggest that the shock-waves formed due to the supernova may have damaged or knocked down the Pillars of Creation. This event is supposed to have happened at least 6000 years ago. The pillars being at 7000 light years is the reason why we haven't seen it yet. This means that Earth would be able to see this devastation about 1000 years from now. The Earth-lings then would see these pillars fall apart and annihilated by the extreme shock waves of the supernova. They will know that the even happened a long time ago,but it'd still be a miserable and disheartening moment!

As FQTQ say "We are merely spectators,relegated to the lowly role of simply watching and trying to make sense of the cosmos."

We must feel privileged to be able to witness such wonders happening around us! We can't do anything but watch the chaos around us and how it brings order to itself, our Universe.That is the beauty of our Cosmos!

Enjoy everything you see above and around you, because it's there after a long struggle! The Universe made it for you!