M 16

The alt attribute of this image is empty, its file name is m16.jpg.The alt attribute of this image is empty, its file name is m16-zoom_m16.jpg.
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2019/04/08 and 09

Observation place
New Mexico


TelescopeTakahashi FSQ 106ED, 106mm, f / 5
MountParamount ME
Imaging cameraSBIG STL 11000 regulated at -15o Celsius
Image typeHa (RVsB) (Vs for synghetic green)
ExhibitionHa (8 x 10 'bin 1 × 1), RB (4 x 3' bin 2 × 2 each)
PretreatmentMaxim DL
TreatmentPhotoshop and PixInsight
Specific treatmentCreate a synthetic green image

Object description

Object typeOpen cluster and emission nebula "The Eagle nebula"
Visual magnitude6
Distance5 light years
Diameter58,1 light years
Dimension seen from Earth35 x 28 arc minutes
M16 is located approximately 5 light years from Earth in the Serpent's tail. It contains an open cluster of stars enveloped in an emission nebula called the Eagle Nebula. The latter has a diameter of about 610 light years. Seen from the Earth, its dimension is approximately that of the Moon.  

The cluster is made up of young blue stars which were born from the Eagle Nebula and which ionize its gas. Stars are also still being formed. The central region of the nebula shows beautiful columnar architecture, called “Pillars of Creation”. In these pillars of gas, about three light years long, the stars of the cluster are born. It is also a region conducive to the formation of new planets and possibly the possibility of the creation of life, hence the nickname Pillars of Creation!    
With binoculars, in a site of low light pollution, we can see the nebula in the form of a diffuse spot and ten stars of the cluster. A 200 mm diameter telescope makes it easier to see the contours of the nebula. It will take a telescope at least 300 mm in diameter to be able to hope to see the three pillars of the Eagle. The splendours of the Eagle Nebula are only truly revealed through long exposure photography using narrow band filters.  

In my first image, which was taken in a very wide field of view, the Eagle Nebula appears in the center of the photo. One can thus see and appreciate the very weak nebulosities which surround it. They are referred to as IFN for Integrated Flux Nebula (in French: integrated flux nebula). This whole region is conducive to the birth of new stars. I managed to bring out this weak signal by using a Hydrogen-Alpha filter as the luminance image.  

In my second image, I have cropped only the M16 nebula. We can thus see its resemblance to an eagle, hence its nickname. If you can't see it, start by seeing its head at the top of the image and then its wings outstretched to either side. We can also appreciate the great beauty of this nebula. The Pillars appear in the center of the nebula, just below the head. Zoom in slightly in the image to see them better.  

I have a future imaging project, with a deep sky telescope, to see these pillars up close with more detail on their structures using narrow band filters in the Hubble palette.    
Richard Beauregard
Sky Astro - CCD
My impression "We cannot be alone in this gigantic universe"