September 2017 Skynotes - M16

M16 - Eagle Nebula

M16 can be found low in the Serpens-Clauda spiral arm of our Galaxy. It is estimated to be 7,000 light years away.

This is a large star cluster surrounded by giant cloud of interstellar gas and dust and is an area where new stars are created, the cluster of stars being estimated at 5.5 million years old.

The star cluster was discovered around 1745/6 by Phillippe Loys de Cheseaux but he made no mention of the nebula.

Later Charles Messier independently rediscovered it in 1764. He described the stars as “enmeshed in a faint glow” suggesting that he discovered the nebula as well.

The Herschels apparently did not perceive the nebula so their catalogues only describe the cluster.

Detail of the Eagle Nebula is best seen by photography but the star cluster can be seen with a low power 4” telescope and in very good conditions it may be possible to see the nebula.

8” and larger telescopes will reveal far more detail and an O-III filter may help reveal more nebulosity detail.

It is an object that is commonly imaged but is most famous for the Hubble Space Telescope image “The Pillars of creation” made in 1995.

Bob Sayer

Location: Cornwall


Image details:

M16 - R.A 18h 19m 47.57s Dec -13º 47’ 23.7”

Image Size 50.9 x 32.6 arcmin.

Captured: 2017-09-18

The image is a compilation of 9 x 120 sec subs.


4” Apochromatic refractor @f/5.4

Imaging Camera - Artemis 285 CCD Mono

Guiding - Celestron 80mm f5 refractor Skyris132M b/w camera 

Mount EQ6 controlled by EQMOD and PHD2.

Filters: Deep Sky 

Captured and processed in Nebulosity 4 and Photoshop.