Utah Sky: Eagle Nebula | UPR Utah Public Radio

The summer evening sky offers a magnificent view of the Milky Way. Looking south, you can easily find the bright star Antares in the constellation Scorpius (the Scorpion). Moving east about 25 degrees you come to the teapot asterism. 25 degrees is equal to the distance between your little finger (which you place on the star Antares) and your thumb when you hold your hand at arm’s length from you. Your thumb will be on the Teapot asterism, which is in the constellation Sagittarius. Between these two points flows the Milky Way.

This part of the Milky Way contains several nebulae, star clusters and other formidable objects. With binoculars you can see thousands of stars. A nebula in this region is the Messier object M16 or the Eagle Nebula. In the Eagle Nebula are the “Pillars of Creation”, made famous by images from the Hubble Space Telescope. With a 10 inch or larger telescope you can view the “Pillars of Creation”.

This region of the sky is ideal for night landscape images. You will often see images with the dark, cloudy region of the Milky Way above a prominent landmark. I have often imagined this in our national parks. My favorite was the Balancing Rock with Arches in the foreground and the Milky Way in the background.

You don’t even need a telescope to take pictures of nightscapes. A camera that can keep the shutter open for 20-30 seconds is sufficient. It is best to have a tripod to hold the camera steady for this duration. Try it sometimes.

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