JOHNSTON BACKYARD SPACE: M16, The Eagle Nebula (aka Star Queen Nebula)

By LUC MAGUIRE/Special to the Sun Rise
Posted 6/18/21

The Eagle Nebula is a young open cluster of stars located in the constellation Serpins. Swiss astronomer Jean Phillippe de Cheseaux discovered it in 1745. The dark nebulosity near the center of M16 …

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JOHNSTON BACKYARD SPACE: M16, The Eagle Nebula (aka Star Queen Nebula)

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The Eagle Nebula is a young open cluster of stars located in the constellation Serpins. Swiss astronomer Jean Phillippe de Cheseaux discovered it in 1745. The dark nebulosity near the center of M16 are famously known as The Pillars of Creation, Imaged by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The Eagle Nebula is part of an active star formation region about 7,000 light-years away from Earth. Amateur visual astronomers can view the core of the Eagle Nebula with a telescope or pair of binoculars and will be able to see about 20 stars clearly surrounded by gas and dust illuminated by the surrounding stars. Under absolute dark skies one might get a small faint glimpse of the three Pillars also.

Over the course of two consecutive nights, I set my telescope’s sights on M16, The Eagle Nebula. Due to its location in the sky this early into Milky Way season, I was only able to get limited imaging time on this target. I used Narrowband filters to block out all of visible light except the Hydrogen Alpha, and Oxygen-iii gas illuminated by the surrounding stars in that area. The H-alpha can be seen in Red and the Oxygen-iii can be seen in Blue. I used each filter to gather roughly 35 images that were 5 minutes in length and stacked them using astrophotography editing software. This Image was taken in my backyard in Johnston.

Gear used:

  • Imaging telescopes or lenses: William Optics Zenith 73 II
  • Imaging cameras: QHYCCD QHY183M
  • Mounts: SkyWatcher EQ6R-Pro
  • Guiding telescopes or lenses: William Optics 50mm Guidescope rotolock William Optics 50mm F/4 Guide Scope
  • Guiding cameras: ZWO ASI120MM-Mini ASI120MM-Mini
  • Focal reducers: Williams Optics Flat73A
  • Software: PixInsight   Adobe Phosotshop CC  ·  NINA 10.1  ·  Sharpcap  ·  PHD2 Guiding 2.62 PHD2.62Filters: Astronomik OIII 1.25" 6nm  ·  Astronomik Ha 1.25" 6nm
  • Dates: June 10, 2021
  • Frames: 72x300" (6h)
  • Integration: 6h
  • Moon age: 0.05 days
  • Moon phase: 0.00%

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lucas “Luc” Maguire captured this image from his backyard in Johnston. He will be submitting his deep space images to the Sun Rise for publication each week. Maguire’s photography can also be found at his Instagram account @oceanstateastro and his Twitter feed @OceanStateAstro.

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