Messier 16, the Eagle Nebula   HOME INDEX BACK NEXT

Diffuse Nebula in Serpens

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The Eagle Nebula is a not especially bright when observed visually. The cluster of stars is easy to see, but even through a large telescope the nebula is dim and diffuse. The eagle shape is not obvious, but in this image the head is the bright area just below center, its tail is at the upper right (surroundng the densest group of stars), and its outstretched wings reach to the upper left and lower right.

In the very center are dark clouds that have been called the "pillars of creation," because they are regions where new stars are condensing out of the gases and dust. I once had the opportunity to observe the pillars through a 36-inch telescope at the Connecticut Star Party. It was quite a treat to see these famous structures through the eyepiece of the huge telescope.

Magnitude 6.0
Apparent Size 25'
Distance (light yrs) 9,000
Right Ascension 18:18.8
Declination -13 47
Field of View 29.4' x 22.2'

Image details:  Exposure times of 72 minutes luminance and 15 minutes each of red, green and blue, taken with an SBIG ST-8300M imager and a 12" Meade telescope at f/7.

August 2011