M16 - The Eagle Nebula in Sagittarius 


Copyright 2007 Frank Hinson

Lying 7000 light years distant, the great hydrogen cloud of IC 4703 is undergoing an intense process of star formation.  The diffuse nebula resembles an eagle with outstretched wings and even has dense pillars of nebulosity that look like claws.  These objects were captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in a remarkable image called "Pillars of Creation".  These pillars are similar to buttes in the desert which have survived wind and water erosion due to their dense nature and protrude above the surrounding desert floor...these pillars are denser regions of hydrogen gas and dust that have not been blown away yet by the bright ultraviolet light emitted by the young (only 5.5 million years) star cluster (M16) in front of them.   Each of these pillars is more than a light-year in length and contains numerous knots of gas and dust, many of which are just now igniting into stars.  

Note the 12th magnitude asteroid going through the frame to the left of M16.


Date/Location:    May 19 and 20, 2007     Foster/Hinson Observatory    Bethune, SC
Instrument:    Canon 350XT Digital SLR (modified) through 12.5" F/5 Newtonian 
Focal Ratio:   F/5
Guiding:    None - AP1200 mount
Conditions:    Visually clear
Weather:    60 F
Exposure: 204 minutes total (102 x 2 minutes)
Filters:    Baader UV/IR Block
Processing:    Focused and captured with DSLRFocus.  Processing in ImagesPlus and Photoshop.