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Dan Lessmann

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M16, The Eagle Nebula


Click image for larger version.


This is the Eagle Nebula in Serpens Cauda. It is officially cataloged as an open cluster with nebulosity, primarily an Ha emission nebula, and is also a region of active star birth about 7,000 light years distant toward the center of our galaxy.


The Eagle Nebula was the subject of the famous Pillars of Creation Hubble image acquired in 1995. This image showcased the central pillars that make up the "eagle" and the pillar above its head. These massive, light year long pillars of gas and dust are formed by the ultraviolet radiation pressure of the young and very large stars above and right of the eagle in a process known as photoevaporation. These pillars of denser gas and dust are left behind much like mesas and spires in a desert as the less dense clouds are literally blown away by the stars' solar winds.


As the pillars are eroded, the gas and dust at their tips is compressed allowing new proto stars to form. Such a proto star is evident in the tip of the larger pillar above the eagle's head.


Visually, little of this nebulosity is apparent except in larger telescopes. Instead one sees the beautiful star clusters that surround the region.


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Date:  3/23/2012

Location:  4Domes Observatory

Telescope:  C14 @ f/9

Mount:  AP-1200

Camera:  SBIG STL-6303E

Acquisition and Guiding:  Maxim DL

LRGB Combine Exposures:

Ha - 5 x 1,200, Bin 1x1, 1.7 hrs (Used as nebula luminance)

Luminance - 6 x 600, Bin 1x1, 1 hr (Used as star luminance)

Red - 5x300 Seconds, Bin 2x2

Green - 5x300 Seconds, Bin 2x2

Blue - 5x300 Seconds, Bin 2x2

Post Processing:

ImagesPlus:  Calibration, align and combine, digital development

Photoshop CS4:  Luminance, color combine, levels, curves, LAB color adjustment, high pass filter

NeatImage:  Noise reduction

Last Updated: 11/12/2014  -  Copyright 2004-2013 by Dan Lessmann.  All rights reserved.  Please click here for my usage policy.