Messier Monday: The Eagle Nebula, M16 (Synopsis)

“The most amazing lesson in aerodynamics I ever had was the day I climbed a thermal in a glider at the same time as an eagle. I witnessed, close up, effortlessness and lightness combined with strength, precision and determination.” -Norman Foster

It's called the "Eagle Nebula" because the shape of the nebula itself faintly resembles the silhouette of that hyper-intelligent and skilled bird-of-prey, but what lies inside is far more spectacular than any early skywatcher imagined.

An in-depth look reveals that all the stages of new star formation are present, from dust still collapsing under its own gravity, to pillars forming new proto-stars while simultaneously evaporating, to young fully-formed stars ionizing and working to dissociate the remaining nebular regions.

Image credit: T.A.Rector (NRAO/AUI/NSF and NOAO/AURA/NSF) and B.A.Wolpa (NOAO/AURA/NSF), via Image credit: T.A.Rector (NRAO/AUI/NSF and NOAO/AURA/NSF) and B.A.Wolpa (NOAO/AURA/NSF), via

It's the Eagle Nebula, home to some of the most spectacular sights our Universe has to offer, for this marvelous Messier Monday!


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