The Eagle Nebula – sans stars

This image was something of a happy accident – I spent a night capturing narrowband data on M16, the Eagle Nebula (home of the famous “pillars of creation”.) Of course I had to try reproducing the iconic Hubble image as best I could, but the color palette they use results in big, ugly, magenta-colored stars.

I have software that uses AI to remove stars from images, so I hit it with that – intending to later take an image of true-color stars and add them back in to the image. But upon removing the stars, I was left with a really artsy-looking image of just the wispy clouds of gas and dust that makes up this nebula. It’s almost like brushstrokes – if you have a brush a light-year or so wide!

I’m hoping to get some more exposure time on this later this week, and try processing other nebulas this way to see what happens. A couple of different processing choices below; the first one balances the color on ionized Sulfur emissions, and the second on ionized Oxygen. In both cases, red is mapped to ionized Sulfur, green to ionized Hydrogen, and blue to ionized Oxygen.

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