Astrophotograph of the Eagle Nebula M16

This is my astrophotograph of the Eagle Nebula (M16). You may recognise part of this photograph from the very famous false-colour photograph taken by the Hubble Telescope called the Pillars of Creation: It’s an open cluster of young stars being formed in a huge diffuse cloud of hydrogen gas. These gas clouds have made beautiful ‘sculptures’ including those huge dark backlit-in-red spires which resemble an eagle rising up with a fish grasped in its claws (hence the name, Eagle Nebula). The small black spots are Bok globules (basically dark dust).

This nebula finally came into view from my garden this month, and the cloudy nights cleared for a change, leaving me with a 2-hr window. I was left with 53× 2-min usable frames to make this photo. I had a meridian flip at about midnight and I didn’t recenter the target very well, so the resulting image was cropped quite heavily to avoid frame alignment artefacts.


  • 53× 120-s light frames
  • All calibration frames from 28 June 2019


  • Sky-Watcher 130mm f/6.92 Newtonian reflector
  • Sky-Watcher EQ5 PRO SynScan GOTO equatorial mount
  • Altair GPCAM3 290C colour camera (with UVIR window fitted)
  • Altair GPCAM 0.5× reducer (fitted to the nosepiece of the GPCAM3 290C)
  • Altair 60mm guide scope
  • Altair GPCAM2 AR0130 mono guide camera


  • Sharpcap
  • PHD2
  • DeepSkyStacker
  • Photoshop

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