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Harel Boren | all galleries >> International Acknowledgements - APODs and Publications > M16 The Eagle Nebula - Wide Field (IC 2177)
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M16 The Eagle Nebula - Wide Field (IC 2177)
March 26th, 2009 Harel Boren

M16 The Eagle Nebula - Wide Field (IC 2177)

Km. 101, Eastern Negev Desert, Israel

From Wiki The Eagle Nebula (catalogued as Messier 16 or M16, and as NGC 6611) is a young open cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens, discovered by Jean-Philippe de Cheseaux in 1745-46. Its name derives from its shape which is reminiscent of an eagle. It is the subject of a famous photograph by the Hubble Space Telescope, which shows pillars of star-forming gas and dust within the nebula.

You can view a zoom image of the central area, containing the pillars, by pressing "next" on the top right hand side of this image.

I personally liked the National Geographic's report on the supernove which has likely demolished the pillars, 6000 years ago, in a scene which will be seen from Earth only 1000 years from now In a thousand years, astronomers predict, people on Earth will see the iconic "Pillars of Creation" get toppled by a supernova, the explosive death of a giant star.

The pillars are dense clouds of gas in the Eagle Nebula, a star nursery in the constellation Serpens, near Sagittarius. They were made famous by a dramatic 1995 Hubble Space Telescope image (inset). The tricky part is that the forecast is based on evidence that the pillars were demolished by the supernova's shockwave about 6,000 years ago. "[They] have been destroyed. I use the past tense because the nebula is 7,000 light-years away," said Nicolas Flagey, a French doctoral student working for NASA. In other words, light from the nebula has taken 7,000 years to reach Earth, and everything we see is that much out of date.

This recent infrared image of the Eagle Nebula shows a bubble of hot, rapidly expanding material directly behind the pillars, Flagey reported on January 8 at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington. In the image, taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, a red mass of hot dust warmed by the supernova can be seen behind the ghostly green of the nebula. The pillars are directly in the shockwave's path.

"The pillars are not dense enough to resist" the blast, Flagey said. The red ball can't simply be gas heated by nearby stars, he added, because only a supernova could generate that much energy. But the blast isn't entirely bad news. Supernova shockwaves, astronomers believe, help to ignite new stars in the dust clouds that they reach.

Another interesting report can be found on NewScientist's site:

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi ,modded, Meade SN10 on EQ6, Baader MPCC
ISO 800, 28 x 2 min. exposures full exif

other sizes: small medium large original
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Guest 27-May-2009 18:06
stunning shot.
Wienie 31-Mar-2009 04:39
Oh, what an impressive image. Good work. Very nice!