M16 and IC 4703 - The Eagle Nebula in Serpens


Copyright 2005 Hap Griffin

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.  


Date/Location:    May 7, 2005     Griffin/Hunter Observatory    Bethune, SC
Instrument:    Canon 300D Digital SLR (modified) through 10" Meade LX-200 
Focal Ratio:   Approx. f4 via Lumicon GEG
Guiding:    Auto through Orion ED80 w/ SBIG ST-237
Conditions:    Visually clear, moderate humidity (70%)
Weather:    54 deg. F 
Exposure: 90 minutes total @ ISO 800 (18 x 5 min exposures) calibrated with flat frame and Master Dark frame (average combine of 9 darks)
Filters:    Baader UV/IR Block
Processing:    Focused and captured with DSLRFocus.  RAW to TIFF conversion, frame calibrations, alignment, Digital Development, Adaptive Richardson_Lucy deconvolution, scaling and JPEG conversion with ImagesPlus.  Noise reduction with NeatImage.