Messier 16, generally known as the Eagle Nebula, in Serpens is simply one of the best nebulae in the sky.
Technically, M16 consists of two objects: the emission nebula IC 4703 and a cluster of around fifty stars, NGC 6611.
The brightest stars in the cluster are emitting ultra-violet radiation which cause the gas in the nebula to fluoresce. The nebula seems to be associated with its near neighbour, M17, the Omega Nebula.
At the heart of M16 is the subject of the famous “Pillars of Creation” photograph produced by the Hubble Space Telescope.
I was planning to stay out late to get at least a couple of hours of data for this image but – well , you can probably guess what cut my session short.
Fortunately, the SharpCap image acquisition software has a brightness filter as part of its live stacking feature, so the bad frames do not get included in the stack. At first the good frames were winning 19-0 but I felt the urge to quit by the time the baddies were winning 19-43.
I know this image could still be improved, especially with more exposures and better polar alignment but it is better than the last shot I took of M16 two years ago. I’m not a person who perseveres with the same object over and over until it’s perfect, I just prefer to move on to the next target and maybe have another go at it at some future date.
Designation: M16, The Eagle Nebula, Star Queen Nebula, NGC 6611, IC4703.
Visual magnitude: +6.4
Apparent size: 35′ x 28′
Diameter: 58 light years.
Distance: 5,700 light years.
Altitude during exposure: 63° above N horizon.
Also in image: Trumpler 32, a nice star cluster with 30 stars no brighter than 12th magnitude, about 6′ diameter. Located on the right.
Technical stuff below.
Please feel free to jump to the end and like or comment.
Exposure: 19 x 45 sec = 14.25 min.
Image acquisition: SharpCap.
|Telescope:||SkyWatcher Esprit||Type:||120ED triplet refractor|
|Focal:||840 mm F/7||Mount:||SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro|
|Camera:||ZWO ASI 071 MC Pro
||Type:||CMOS 28.4mm 16 Mpx
|Optical aids:||Flattener: Y; filter: LP||Guiding:||No|
|Polar aligning:||QHYCCD PoleMaster||Polar Error:||06’ 34”|
[ZWO ASI071MC Pro]
Output Format=FITS files (*.fits)
Frame Rate Limit=1 every 4 seconds
White Bal (B)=50
White Bal (R)=53
Auto Exp Max Gain=300
Auto Exp Max Exp M S=30000
Auto Exp Target Brightness=100
Anti Dew Heater=Off
Subtract Dark=C:\Users\Roger\Desktop\SharpCap Captures\darks\ZWO ASI071MC Pro\RAW16@4944×3284\45.0s\gain_290\dark_10_frames_6.4C_2019-07-31T12_34_51.fits
Display Black Point=0.165829145728643
Display MidTone Point=0.57035175879397
Display White Point=1
Images © Roger Powell