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M16 – The Eagle Nebula

The Eagle Nebula is a bright and colorful red emission nebula in the constellation Serpens.  A modified camera will help bring out the rich red color in this nebula.  The photo below was captured with a Modified Canon Rebel Xsi and a 102mm Apochromatic Refractor.


Eagle Nebula

Messier 16 – The Eagle Nebula

Messier Object 16 is known by amateur astronomers as the Eagle Nebula.   This well-observed area of the night sky is a large cloud of gas and dust where new stars are being born.  When you take a look at the wispy glow of this nebula through an astronomical telescope, you are witnessing a stellar object that is approximately 7000 light years away.

The newborn stars in the Eagle Nebula are very hot, which illuminate M16’s hydrogen gas as seen in the pillars of creation, made famous by the Hubble telescope. These intense pillars are slowly evaporating under the intense glare of the nearby massive, newborn stars.  These pillars may appear relatively small within the nebula itself, but in actuality they are larger than our entire solar system!

Location of the Eagle Nebula

The location of the Eagle Nebula within the Milky Way

Have a look at the astrophotography equipment used to photograph the Eagle Nebula in the video below.  This was one of the first photos captured using my new Explore Scientific ED102 Carbon Fibre Triplet Apo Refractor (That’s a mouthful!)  I traveled to a location with darker skies than my backyard.


Photography Details

Photographed on: Sept 2, 2016

Total Exposure Time: 2 Hours, 15 Minutes (5 minute Subs @ ISO 1600)
Mount: Sky-Watcher HEQ-5 Pro
Camera: Canon 450D (modified)
Telescope: Explore Scientific ED102 CF

Guided with PHD Guiding
Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker
Processed in Adobe Photoshop CC

The Eagle Nebula in Hydrogen Alpha

The Eagle Nebula contains a lot of Hydrogen-alpha.  It is possible to photograph this nebula in this particular wavelength using a Ha filter on your DSLR.  The particular filter I use with my Canon camera is the Astronomik 12nm Ha Clip-in filter.  This object looks fantastic in this wavelength, as the fine details in M16 are free of distracting stars.  My complete post on the subject can be found below.


Eagle Nebula in Ha


How a DSLR Ha Filter can Improve your Astrophotos

For more astrophotography images, please visit the photo gallery.  Please follow the AstroBackyard Facebook page and YouTube Channel for the most up-to-date information.

For a detailed walkthrough of the image processing techniques used in the images above, please visit the astrophotography tutorials section of this website.

Astrophotography Tutorial