The Eagle Nebula (M 16)

clic for 30% size 1154 x 790 (518 kB)

clic here for 50% size 1923 x 1316 (990 kB)

About this Image

Lying some 7,000 light years distant in the constellation Serpens, close to the borders to Scutum and Sagittarius, and in the next inner spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy from us (the Sagittarius or Sagittarius-Carina Arm) a great cloud of interstellar gas and dust has entered a vivid process of star formation.

The open star cluster M16 has formed from this great gaseous and dusty cloud, the diffuse Eagle Nebula IC 4703. It is now caused to shine by emission light, excited by the high-energy radiation of its massive hot, young stars. It is actually still in the process of forming new stars, this formation taking place near the dark "elephant trunks" which are visible in the center of the image.

This image has been taken with H-alpha as red,O-III as teal and blue and seperate green/blue filters.
North is up.

Compare an infrared image from the ESO: 1.
Compare the famous image from the HST: 2.
Compare a second close-up from the HST: 3.

Checkout a version in mapped color here.

Checkout a flash animation blending the normal image with the mapped one: here (press F11 for full screen).

Below you see the center crop of the above image in 56/140% size showing the famous center inside the shell of this nebula area.

clic for 140% size 1873 x 1537 (572 kB)

Technical Details


TEC-140 APO refractor with TEC flattener at f/7

Mount AP-400 GEM
Camera SBIG STL-11000M at -20C, internal filter wheel
Filters Astronomik H-alpha, O-III, G, B
Date May 21+31, 2006.
Location Hakos/Namibia
Sky Conditions mag 7, high transparency, temperature 15 C,
Exposure Ha:O3:G:B = 150:60:30:30 minutes (30 min sub-exposures for O3, 10-minute sub-exposures for others),
all 1x1.
Processing Image aquisition, in Maxim DL 4.11; calibration and preprocessing in CCD-Stack;
Photoshop: curves, mild unsharp mask, color balance, star color handling;
wavelet processing for brighter nebula parts;