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Astronomical Observatory: Cool Images

Astr111 Photography Projects, Spring 2007

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Eagle Nebula (M16), Marcia Holtrop

M16 Eagle Nebula

An Eagle Nebula is giant columns of cool hydrogen gas and dust that are about 7,000 light-years from Earth. Inside these columns of gas there is a stellar nursery where stars were formed about 2 million years ago, and is still in the process of forming new stars. The clouds of gas are being illuminated by ultraviolet light that is emitted from these hot newborn blue and white stars which can be seen in the upper right corner of the picture. The columns of clouds are called Evaporating Gaseous Globules, because the ultraviolet light boils off some of the hydrogen gas which shapes them. With their light and winds, the hot baby stars are pushing back the remaining gas that they were originally condensed from, leaving cavities in the gas. The bright region of the nebula that you see in the upper right of this picture is a window into the center of the large shell of dust, and the bright edges you see are due to shock waves from gas that is being blown off the stars hitting other gas. The glowing red appearance of this nebula is associated with new star formation, and is photo-ionised hydrogen that is usually found in the spiral arms of galaxies. The dark "elephant trunks" you see in the lower center of the picture formed by dense gas (at the tops of the trunks) that blocks the light emitted by the newborn stars. This density is where the stars are actually being formed.

This picture is 48.87 light years across, which is only a piece of the eagle nebula in it's entirety.

References:
Col, Jeananda. Astronomy directory. 2007. Enchanted Learning. 10 Apr. 2007

Frommert, Hartmut and Kronberg, Christine. "NGC 6611." Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.

Schoening, Bill. "The Eagle Nebula, M16." National Optical Astronomy Observatory. 9 apr. 2007

Right Ascension (J2000) 18:18:48
Declination (J2000) -13:47:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), and red(R),
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in BV, and 3x60 seconds in R
Date observed

March 18, 2007 BVR

 

 

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