Astronomy Picture of the Day
    


Portrait of the Eagle Nebula
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Portrait of the Eagle Nebula
Credit & Copyright: Charles Bonafilia
Explanation: A star cluster around 2 million years young surrounded by natal clouds of dust and glowing gas, Messier 16 (M16) is also known as The Eagle Nebula. This beautifully detailed image of the region adopts the colorful Hubble palette and includes cosmic sculptures made famous in Hubble Space Telescope close-ups of the starforming complex. Described as elephant trunks or Pillars of Creation, dense, dusty columns rising near the center are light-years in length but are gravitationally contracting to form stars. Energetic radiation from the cluster stars erodes material near the tips, eventually exposing the embedded new stars. Extending from the ridge of bright emission left of center is another dusty starforming column known as the Fairy of Eagle Nebula. M16 lies about 7,000 light-years away, an easy target for binoculars or small telescopes in a nebula rich part of the sky toward the split constellation Serpens Cauda (the tail of the snake). As framed, this telescopic portrait of the Eagle Nebula is about 70 light-years across.

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.

Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day

Publications with keywords: M 16 - Eagle Nebula
Publications with words: M 16 - Eagle Nebula
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