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M 16  (NGC 6611),  The  Eagle  Nebula,  in  Serpens

L(Ha+R)RGB  CCD  image

Click Here For Higher Resolution Image

M16, the Eagle or Star Queen Nebula, is famous for a Hubble photograph ("Pillars of Creation")  that shows a star-birthing region. This emission nebula lies approximately 6500 light years from us. Because the nebula consists largely of hydrogen, the light emitted is primarily hydrogen emission lines, especially H-alpha at 656.3 nM (deep red). The hydrogen is gradually condensing gravitationally into denser regions and these in turn eventually become condensed and hot enough to ignite nuclear reactions and form new stars.  According to Burnham, most of the stars in the nebula are hot O- and B-type stars, indicating that they are relatively young. The "eagle" or "star queen" in the center of the nebula consists of the third major component of the structure: dust. By obscuring direct light from the stars and the emitted light, the dust silhouettes provide the structure that gives the nebula its name. In addition to the eagle, a number of other dark structures can be seen including several lanes entering from the periphery and Bok globules (the rounded body at 1 o'clock relative to the eagle).

The luminosity layer in this image is a combination of the H-alpha image with the red filter image in a 100:25 ratio. The combination luminosity layer was then combined with a standard RGB image to produce the final result.  A gray-scale luminosity image can be seen here.    An  older film image can be seen here. A more recent, wider CCD view can be seen here.


 Date  2002-08-08

 Astro-Physics 130 f6 EDF  with ST-10XME CCD camera on A-P 1200 GTO mount.       

  Guiding with ST-4 guider on separate guide scope .        


 7 x 5 min with Custom Scientific 3 nM H-alpha filter; 3 x 5 min 

  for each R, G, and B regular IR-blocking SBIG filters in SBIG CFW-8 filter wheel.


 Stacked in MaxIm and Registar; L and RGB combined and images stretched 

  in PhotoShop 7.0