M16, The "Eagle Nebula" is a hugely popular photographic target because of the iconic "Pillars of Creation" Hubble image, which is also the "eagle" shape in the middle of the bright core of the larger structure. In this sulphur-heavy narrowband image I wanted to focus instead on the incredible beauty of the greater nebula which to me looks strikingly like M42, complete with smaller circular M43 immediately beside it's intensely bright core and corresponding dark cloud spire. M16 really looks to me like an older M42, further along in it's star formation and depleting it's source material as new stars are born. In fact it's true - at 5 million years old, this nebula is 2 million years older than Orion with our current understanding.
For those interested in the colour mapping, Hydrogen is mapped to red, Sulphur to blue and Oxygen to green, but blended 50% with a bicolour (Ha/R, SII/G+B) which resulted in a really detailed colour structure that lets the lesser elements pull through the Hydrogen dominance. Total 35 x 60s Ha, 14 x SII 180s. 24 x OIII : 2.5hrs exposure time. Celestron 9.25" Edge HD, Hyperstar, QHY9M CCD, Baader F2 filters. Imaged by the Byron Bay Observatory, Australia. #astrophotography