M16 – the Eagle Nebula

I’ve decided I’m going to start posting, fairly often (I hope), astronomical images I have taken and give them a brief description. I hope this is interesting to a few people. So lets start off with [my most viewed flickr image]… (as I write this anyway)
M16 – the Eagle Nebula
M16 - Eagle Nebula
[Full version of image]
[The Eagle nebula] is a young open cluster of stars that is most famous for the “pillars of creation” which you can clearly see in the image above. The nebula is part of a diffuse emission nebula (a H II region). The pillars have a maximum extent of 7 light years, so quite a large structure. They appear to be dark because the density of the gas is causing the light from the background stars to be blocked, hence causing a shadow. Interestingly, it is believed that a supernova in the region [destroyed these structures some 6,000 years ago] but it takes roughly 7,000 years for the light to reach us.

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