Messier 16 - the Eagle Nebula in Serpens

© Velimir Popov & Emil Ivanov 2016
Size: 2000 px

Known since the eighteenth century and being one of the most well-known objects from the Messier Catalog, the Eagle Nebula (also known as M 16 or NGC 6611) is a large H II region visible in the constellation of the Serpens Cauda. It is formed by a young open star cluster associated with an emission nebula composed of ionized hydrogen, cataloged as IC 4703 (sometimes called Star Queen Nebula). Its distance has always been relatively uncertain, but we tend to accept a value of about 5700 light-years from Earth, placing it in the middle zone of the Sagittarius Arm. M 16 contains some extremely popular formations known as the Pillars of Creation (see the magnified crop below), the long columns of dark gas originated from the action of stellar wind from the central star cluster components. The Pillars contain some young stellar objects, testifying that the star-forming processes are still ongoing. The cluster is composed of a large number of very hot and bright blue supergiants. Their typical age is only 2-3 million years, which is less than one-thousandth the age of our sun. The brightest star of the cluster is of magnitude 8.24.

Pillars of creation

The "Pillars of Creation"


Image details:


Center of field RA 18:18:57 (h:m:s)
Center of field DE -13:46:06 (deg:m:s)
Size 1.76 x 1.25 (deg)
Pixel scale: 1.04 (arcsec/pixel)
Orientation: Up is 109 degrees E of N
Charts and image details obtained from
Optic(s): ASA 12" Astrograph @ f/3.6 (Newton)
Mount: ASA DDM85 Standard
Camera: SBIG STL 11000 M
Filters: Luminance, Red, Green, Blue, Astronomik filters
Dates/Times: 17,18 Jul. 2015
Location: IRIDA Observatory, BG, longitude: E 24 44' 18", latitude: N 41 41' 42"
Exp. Details: R:10x10min, G:10x10min, B:10x10min Bin 1, Total 300 min (5:00 hrs)
More details: Dark and flat frames reduction
Processing: PixInsight / PS
Copyright: Velimir Popov and Emil Ivanov 2016. All Rights Reserved
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