Image Credit: Larry Van Vleet

This is Messier 16 — more often referred to as the Eagle Nebula — as seen using a narrowband filter.

Messier 16 is located approximately 7,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Serpens, tucked away within an inner spiral arm of the Milky Way, close to the borders where the Scutum and Sagittarius constellations intersect.

This particular object belongs to a class of stellar nebula called emission nebulae. The region also remains entangled in a continuous cycle of death and rebirth, climaxing when a new generation of stars explode as supernovae.

Along with being utterly beautiful, M16 is also quite large. It is thought to extended somewhere between 10 to 15 light-years across, with its brightest star having a visual magnitude of 8.24.

It was later discovered that instead of being a single star, it is a binary star system.


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