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Final drawing:

M 16 (Eagle Nebula)

M 16 (Eagle Nebula)

Drawing data

M 16 Ser OC+DF
Date(s) of observation:
2013.07.06/07. Ágasvár
2013.07.09/10. Ágasvár
2013.07.10/11. Ágasvár
2013.07.11/12. Ágasvár
Place(s) of observation:
Telescope(s) used:
4" f/4 Newtonian (Dobsonian)
Enlargement(s) used:
50x (8mm Planetary)
Field size:
Author / Observer:
Peter Kiss


M 16 drawing inverted into positive.
M 16 drawing inverted into positive.

The Eagle Nebula is among those objects that I remember from early childhood. I saw a photo of M 16 long ago and I very much wanted to take a look at the real one. Some time later I saw the Eagle Nebula with my own eyes and it was of course a disappointment. The nebula is not as bright and detailed in the telescope as in the photos. The whole nebula is relatively faint especially when compared with the nearby M 17. Quite many details were visible in the eyepiece but these are not that spectacular. The contrast is very low. The outer parts are extremely faint. It is questionable wheter I have seen the two detached segments of the nebula at all. The Pillars of Creation of the famous Hubble image can be found in the Eagle Nebula. These were not visible because of the low contrast in the small telescope. A somewhat fainter area was detectable in the central part of the nebula.

Comparison with the photograph

M 16 drawing using a 4
M 16 drawing using a 4" Newtonian. Peter Kiss
M 16 photograph by Gábor Tóth using a 10
M 16 photograph by Gábor Tóth using a 10" Newtonian. Copyright Gábor Tóth. Source:

The photo on the left, courtesy of Gábor Tóth was made using a 10" Newtonian astrograph at the Isabis Farm in Namibia. The original image has been cropped and my inverted drawing rotated to show a similar area of the sky.

It is pretty obvious that the photo is much more sprectacular. Besides the colors this is due to the fact that the human eye is not really sensitive to the H-alpha emission that gives the red hue in the photograph. I didn't see crisp details in the nebulous areas (compared to the photograph) in my small telescope because of their faintness and lack of contrast. By comparing the stars you can see the inaccuracies of the drawing. I would note however that the photo was made with a 2.5x as big telescope as the drawing in ideal conditions from the southern hemisphere.

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