How do you spot the eagle nebula?


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Lynn Blakeman Profile
Lynn Blakeman answered

The Eagle Nebula is in Serpen's Constellation and is best observed through a low powered telescope.

You can see its location on the above photo, which refers to it by it's alternative name, M16.

  • The image in its entirety is around 50 light years across, and even the pillars are each several light years across!
  • The Eagle Nebula is around 6,500 light years from earth.
  • The Serpens constellation (where the Eagle Nebula is located) is near to the centre of the galaxy.
  • The star cluster it is associated with is around 5.5 million years old.

To find The Eagle Nebula you will need to locate the Teapot asterism in Sagittarius constellation and follow a line from Kaus Australis (which can be spotted more easily as it is the brightest star in Sagittarius), to just to the right of Kaus Media.

Alternatively, The Eagle Nebula can be found by following a line from Lambda Scuti in the Scutum constellation, over to Alpha Scuti, and then down to Gamma Scuti.

On a clear night, the cluster in M16 is quite easy to spot but if you wish to observe the surrounding nebulosity you would need to use a large aperture telescope.

Summer and early autumn in the evenings are the best times to view.

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