"M16, the Eagle Nebula"

Object Information:

The Eagle Nebula (catalogued as Messier 16 or M16, and as NGC 6611, and also known as the Star Queen Nebula and The Spire) is a young open cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens, discovered by Jean-Philippe de Chéseaux in 1745–46. Both the "Eagle" and the "Star Queen" refer to visual impressions of the dark silhouette near the center of the nebula, an area made famous as the "Pillars of Creation" photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope. The nebula contains several active star-forming gas and dust regions, including the Pillars of Creation.

Link to the high resolution image on FLIKCR:

The Eagle Nebula is part of a diffuse emission nebula, or H II region, which is catalogued as IC 4703. This region of active current star formation is about 7000 light-years distant. A spire of gas that can be seen coming off the nebula in the northeastern part is approximately 9.5 light-years or about 90 trillion kilometers long.

The cluster associated with the nebula has approximately 8100 stars, which are mostly concentrated in a gap in the molecular cloud to the north-west of the Pillars.

An iconic image: The Pillars of Creation

Although NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has taken many breathtaking images of the universe, one snapshot stands out from the rest: the iconic view of the so-called “Pillars of Creation.” The jaw-dropping photo, taken in 1995, revealed never-before-seen details of three giant columns of cold gas bathed in the scorching ultraviolet light from a cluster of young, massive stars in a small region of the Eagle Nebula, or M16.

A detail of The Pillars of Creation from the original image (Prades, June 2017):

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the HST, Hubble revisited the famous pillars, providing astronomers with a sharper and wider view.

Image by Hubble Space Telescope.

I would like to share with you other images of the Pillars taken by my 6th grade students (11 to 12 years old) within The Messier Objects Projects this past June 2017. The images were choosed and processed by the students themselfs. They used a 2m robotic telescope, The Liverpool Telescope (Peter Programme), La Palma (Canary Islands), to acquire all the data present in the following images:

Image by Bernat Fitó and Lluc Paredes. Escola GEM.

Image by Adelina Procopi. Escola GEM.

More information on The Messier Objects Projecte here. Link to the web page and blogger account of the project here.


Exposure Information:

2h20 minutes exposure

Ha: 14x600" 300 Gain bin1

Darks: 30
Bias: 50

Sensor temperature -20ºC
Moon phase 1%

Note: First light of the M16 region.

Imaged at: Prades, Tarragona, CATALUNYA - SPAIN

Optics - Takahashi FSQ 85 - Focal lenght: 450mm - Diameter: 85mm
Camera - ASI 1600 MM-Cooled + ZWO 8pos 31mm Filter Wheel + ZWO OAG

Mount - Mesu 200
Guiding and planetary camera – ASI 174MC

Software: Sequence Generator Pro (SGP), PHD2, DSS, PIX

Image date: June 25th, 2017