This week we have a look at one of the data sets obtained by one of the winners in our HOYS-LCO picture competition. One of the winners used their allocated observing time to obtain an image of the Eagle Nebula. While not a HOYS target, it is a well known star forming region with the famous Pillars of Creation.
I have made a colour composite of the stacks of the data obtained in the different filters. This is part of our annual processing of all the LCO data taken by the HOYS-LCO participants to ensure the entire 60hr of data gets added into our database. Almost 500 HOYS target images have been added this year, and the data processing helpers are working their way through to quality control all of them – a big thank you to those three individuals!!!!! Please note you can volunteer to be part of our data quality control and processing team. Just drop us an email.
The Eagle nebula is not a HOYS field, because it is too far away – about twice as far as our 1kpc limit. However, it is a young cluster of stars. The UV radiation radiation from the massive young stars in the cluster interacts with the material in the surrounding molecular cloud. The dust in lower density material is evaporated. Denser clumps shield material from the UV and create the pillars we see in the image. Inside these pillars is where we find the youngest of the (proto) stars forming in the cluster. They are mostly obscured from view in the optical data, but become quite apparent in infrared images, just as this one from the JWST.