M16, The Eagle Nebula in Serpens Cauda

Posted by Rod Pommier
on Sunday, September 13, 2020
M16, the Eagle Nebula, lies 7000 light-years from Earth, in the Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way galaxy. It is a nebula with notable star forming regions, including the "Pillars of Creation" seen at the center and made famous by the Hubble Space Telescope narrowband image. The longest pillar is about 6 light-years long. Another star forming region is "The Spire" or "The Fairy", which looks like its poised on a pedestal and is oriented horizontally to the upper left of the Pillars of Creation. It is 9 light-years long. These pillars are persistent intrusions of cold hydrogen gas and dust within a nebula after it has given birth to massive O and B blue giant stars, as can be seen in the cluster at the center of the nebula. The pillars are eroded by fierce stellar winds emitted by the giant stars. They are also compressed by the stellar winds, resulting in them collapsing internally and giving birth to smaller, Sun-sized, stars.

Image Data:
Telescope/Mount: Celestron Compustar C14 with Starizona LF reducer/corrector (f/7.5).
Camera: SBIG STL 11000M with Baader Planetarium Ha,R,G,B filters.
Adaptive Optics: SBIG AO-L at 3 Hz.
Location: Pommier Observatory, Portland, OR, USA.
Dates: 2016-06-30 through 2016-07-03.
Exposures: Ha:R:G:B=270:60:50:50 minutes=7 hours, 10 minutes total exposure at f/7.5.

See additional astrophotographs at www.rodpommier.com
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