A Monochromatic Eagle and Swan

This avian duo sits near the center of our galaxy from our perspective. The two nebula are prominent features in larger binoculars under dark skies and show up quite easily in photographs of this part of the night sky. Also referred to as M16 (The Eagle Nebula) and M17 (The Swan, Omega, or Lobster Nebula), both nebula glow due to the presence of hydrogen that's had an electron energized by the radiation of a nearby star, causing the electron to orbit at a higher energy level. The electron then wants to move back to a lower energy orbit and must give off a photon to do so. The red light our eyes and cameras capture is the result of that electron moving to a lower energy orbit and releasing a photon with a wavelength of 656.28 nanometers.

Since this is a monochromatic image, you'll just have to imagine that the brighter areas are red. :-)

Takahashi FSQ-106ED X-III, FLI ML11002-C (not color-converted), AP Mach1GTO mount.
Taken on June 1, 2013, from the California Stars Observatory at GMARS in Landers, CA.


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