Eagle Nebula


We know that throughout the universe there are numerous formations of stars, galaxies and nebulae. One of these is called eagle nebula and is quite well known. It is located 6500 light years from our planet and is within the Sarpens constellation. It has unique features.

Therefore, we are going to dedicate this article to tell you everything you need to know about the Eagle Nebula, its characteristics, origin and much more.

Discovery of the Eagle Nebula

pillars of creation

Located 6.500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Serpens, the Eagle Nebula is part of the Messier Catalog, and its name is M16, the sixteenth interstellar object discovered by astronomers. The Eagle Nebula is a cluster of young stars, cosmic dust, and glowing gas.. This clump of matter forms the backbone of creation, as from time to time hot young stars are born, and others die to create new ones.

Discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, andThis is considered one of the most beautiful and mysterious regions of stellar creation., forming the Eagle Nebula 2 part of the Pillars of Creation, since it is said that a star cluster is born from there.

This Eagle Nebula can be seen by amateur telescopes because it is not very far from Earth, and it also sculpts and illuminates the gas to form large pillars several light-years across, a sight to behold.

Key features

features of the eagle nebula

These are the characteristics of the nebula:

  • Its age is between 1-2 million years.
  • This nebula is part of the Emission Nebula or H II region and is registered as IC 4703.
  • It is located about 7.000 light-years away in the star-making region.
  • The needle of gas is visible from the northeast part of the nebula, 9,5 light-years away and with a diameter of about 90 billion kilometers.
  • This nebula has a group of about 8.100 stars, most concentrated in the northeastern region of the Pillars of Creation.
  • It is part of the so-called Pillars of Creation, since from time to time new stars are born from its gigantic tower of gas.
  • It is estimated to have 460 very bright spectral type stars 1 million times more luminous than the Sun.
  • Just as stars are born from its giant tower, the Eagle Nebula also sees millions of stars die and become bright new stars.

The Eagle Nebula, which may have been imaged by numerous telescopes around the world, was first imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995 with the majesty of the Eagle Nebula-5 of this nebula, showing that new stars are born from these pillars, in gas aggregates called EGG.

From then on, it was used as a display of the beauty of our outer space. Another image of the nebula was taken by ESA's Herschel Space Telescope. This fully demonstrates the pillars of creation, the gas and dust that created this nebula.

This nebula, also seen from an X-ray perspective with ESA's XMM-Newton Space Telescope, introduces us to hot young stars and their responsibility in sculpting their pillars.

Other telescopes studying the nebula are the European Southern Observatory's VTL in Paranal, Chile, with infrared readings, and the 2,2-meter-diameter Max Planck Gesellschaft telescope in the La Silla region of Chile. These telescopes give us the most beautiful images and reveal to us what is happening in this part of the sky.

How to observe the Eagle Nebula

eagle nebula

To observe Messier 16 you must have a good quality telescope, have the best weather conditions, for this the sky must be at its darkest point, away from light pollution, and have the exact location of the nebula. This does not mean that you will not have the occasional stumble when viewing the nebula.

One of the easiest ways to find M16 is to locate the constellation of the Eagle and move towards its tail, Where is the star Aquila? When you get to that point, you move directly to the Scuti constellation. In this pintov, you just have to move south to reach the star Gamma Scuti.

After finding the star Gamma Scuti, you check it out. There you will find the star cluster known as Messier 16, with better quality prism binoculars and with the conditions of your sky you will be able to observe its cloudiness, but with a large aperture telescope you will be able to observe the Eagle Nebula at its best.

Some history

Swiss astronomer Jean-Philippe Loys de Chéseaux was one of the first to discuss Olbers' paradox. He did it a few years before Heinrich Olbers himself was born, but the paradox ultimately led to the name of the latter.

He was also the first to observe the Eagle Nebula, which he did in 1745. Although Chéseaux did not actually see the nebula, he was only able to identify the star cluster at its center: NGC 6611 (as it is now known). This is the first recorded reference to the Eagle Nebula.

But just a few years later (1774), Charles Messier included the cluster in his catalog and classified it as M16. The Messier Catalog is a list of 110 nebulae and star clusters that is still widely used by astronomy enthusiasts today. It is probably the most famous list of celestial bodies in the world.

Years later, with the development of telescopes, astronomers were able to see parts of the nebula surrounding NGC 6611 (the star cluster). People had started talking about the nebula, but since they still couldn't see the eagle, They called her Queen of the Stars.

But the arrival of astrophotography is a new turning point, because there is much more detail than astronomical observations can obtain. It turns out that the nebula has dark regions, large plumes of gas, and a shape reminiscent of an eagle. So this nebula began to have a new name: the Eagle Nebula.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about the Eagle Nebula and its characteristics.

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