Astronomy Picture of the Week – Eagle Nebula

From afar, this nebula looks like an eagle, but a closer look however reveals the bright region is actually a window into the center of a larger dark shell of dust, where a whole cluster of new stars is being formed. The Eagle emission nebula, also known as M16, lies about 6500 light years away towards the Serpens constellation and spans about 20 light-years.

Eagle Nebula

Image credit: T. A. Rector & B. A. Wolpa, NOAO, AURA