It is maybe worth to mention at the beginning, that M16 Eagle nebula was discovered neither by Messier nor by Herschel (as usual 🙂 ), but by Jean-Philippe de Chéseaux in 1745 or 1746. This region of active star formation is about 7,000 light years away, and contains well known feature – Pillars of Creation. The young star cluster associated with nebula has approximately 8100 stars, and its brightest star has an apparent magnitude of 8.24mag, so it is easy target for binoculars. This star (HD 168076) is about 80 times more massive than our Sun and its luminosity is about 1 million times that of the Sun. The cluster’s age is about 1-2 million years. 

Pillars of Creation in M16. Imaged with hydrogen alpha narrowband filter
Pillars of Creation in M16. Imaged with hydrogen alpha narrowband filter

Large version

M16 Eagle nebula contains region named Pillars of Creation, that has been imaged with HST in April, 1995 and is called that way since then. The pillars contain cool molecular hydrogen and dust that are being eroded by photoevaporation from the UV light of relatively close hot stars. The leftmost pillar is about four light years long. When I first saw the original HST image I was totally impressed for a long time. And after many years of astroimaging I decided to do first attempt on this target. I have much respect to this nebula, so I tried to be well prepared. It is not an easy target at my location, because it crawls pretty low above horizon, and additionally this part of my local horizon is also obscured by some local trees and polluted with warm air that rises from heated roofs and breaks seeing. Nevertheless in this year at the beginning of July the moment has come and I collected some subframes of M16.

The total exposure time was 115 minutes in 5 and 2 minutes subframes. I am pretty happy with the result. Despite very low altitude (about 20 degrees above horizon) data contains quite a lot of detail.  When I first saw Pillars of Creation image by HST (it was over 20 years ago) I actually have not dreamt that at some day astronomy amateurs can take images as they take today. World is becoming smaller, but apparently space as well 🙂

Pillars of Creation in M16 - full frame view
Pillars of Creation in M16 – full frame view

Large view

Clear skies!

Image technical data: 

Date: July, 3 2018 Location: 
Nieborowice, Poland 
Telescope: Meade ACF 10" 
Corrector: AP CCDT67 Camera: QHY163M, gain 100 
Mount: SW EQ6 
Guiding: SW 80/400 + ASI290MM 
Exposure: Ha 115 minutes in 5 and 2 minute subs 
Conditions: seeing average-good, transparency average