M16 (Eagle Nebula) Pillars

M16 (Eagle Nebula) Pillars by Chris Heapy, Macclesfield, UK.

Chris Heapy

Macclesfield, UK

Scope: TeleVue NP127is @ 660mm focal length
CCD: Atik 490EX @ 1×1 binning
Mount: Losmandy G11
Guide: TV Pronto + Lodestar
9 x 600s Ha, 6 x 1200s OIII

Image data aquired from my suburban back garden in Macclesfield, UK.

This is a close-up of the central area of the Eagle Nebula (M16) which shows the ‘Pillars of Creation’ feature made famous by the classic Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image of this area. I’m not quite able to match the resolution of the HST with my little 127mm refractor I’m afraid – especially working at just 660mm of focal length! Still, the major parts of the Pillars can be made out in this bi-colour (Ha and OIII) narrow-band image. This was a tough target from my observing postition at 53degN lattitude, not least because the Eagle drags its tail feathers along the horizon, but also at this time of year the nights are short and for those few hours there is permaqnent astronomical twilight. Only the use of narrow band filters allowed me to achieve the level of detail that is apparent in the image, but capturing OIII data is particularly problematic because near the horizon atmospheric extinction removes most of it. This image is a 25% crop of the full frame.