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Dates & Location

June 21st and Aug 16+17th 2009 from the SMAP site at Weed, New Mexico. Elevation 7269 ft. Lat 32.8°N Long 195.5W

Catalogue identification

The Eagle Nebula and M16 open cluster.
M16 is the catalogue identity of the open cluster NGC 6611at the centre of the nebulosity.

Equipment Used

Officina Stellare RC400 at 3304 mm focal length.
Paramount ME German Equatorial Mount.
Camera SBIG ST-11000M.SBIG FW-8L Filter Wheel.

TheSky V6 Telescope control
CCDSoft V5.1 Camera control.


Where it is in space

In the constellation of Serpens Cauda and above the constellation of Sagittarius, North is up.
Apparent nebula size is approx 30 x 20 arc minutes. This equates to the apparent diameter of the Moon at 70% phase. The M16 cluster is approx 8 x 8 arcminutes in size. Apparent magnitude 6.0.
At the latitude of SMAP in New Mexico this object does not rise higher than 40 degrees above the southern horizon and therefore there is little window of opportunity to collect the image data before sinking into the low horizon.

Acquisition Remote session using RADMIN PC control from Ravenshead, UK.
Exposures:- Luminance 27 x 5min and 8 x 10 min each for R,G,B filters, Total exposure time used in processing 6.25 hours.
  What it is

A close look at the Eagle Nebula shows a window into the center of a larger dark shell of dust. Through this window, a brightly-lit workshop appears where a whole open cluster of stars is being formed. In this cavity tall pillars and round globules of dark dust and cold molecular gas remain where stars are still forming. Already visible are several young bright blue stars whose light and winds are burning away and pushing back the remaining filaments and walls of gas and dust. The nebula lies about 6,500 light years away and spans about 20 light-years.

Processing Methods

Images acquired with CCDSoft V5.1  
  Data reduction and Luminence De-convolution with CCDStack.  
  Master RGB image and Master Lum Image finished and combined with Photoshop CS2.