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Messier 16 - The Eagle Nebula

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The Eagle Nebula

The Eagle Nebula (Messier 16) is a huge cloud of glowing hydrogen gas, located in the constellation Serpens. It is located about 7,000 light years from Earth. It is faintly visible to the unaided eye (from a dark location), but its true magnificence only becomes apparent in long exposure photographs.

The Eagle Nebula is perhaps most famous for the “Pillars of Creation” - the dark area at the center of the nebula. The pillars were imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope - one of the most well known images from this wonderful astronomical instrument. The pillars are thought to be areas of active star formation. Our own solar system may have been formed in a similar manner over four billion years ago.

This image was taken near Clinton, New York on July 13, 2002. It is a combination of a 30 minute and a 50 minute exposure on Kodak Royal Gold 200 film. It was taken through my 10" Meade LX200 telescope.

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