the eagle nebula

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Sagittarius Rising at Rattlesnake Lake by Don McCrady
Via Flickr:
Sagittarius and the center of the Milky Way rise above the mountains east of Rattlesnake Lake. Several prominent objects are visible around the most prominent object in the center, the M24 star cloud. Below it and to the right are the Lagoon Nebula and the Trifid Nebula. Almost directly above M24 are the Swan Nebula and the Eagle Nebula. The familiar teapot-shaped constellation of Sagittarius will never fully rise above the mountains at Rattlesnake Lake, WA. Taken with a Canon 6D and 16-35mm L lens at 35mm.

The Eagle Nebula

The soaring pillar is 9.5 light-years, or about 57 trillion miles, high, about twice the distance from our Sun to the nearest star. Stars in the Eagle Nebula are born in clouds of cold hydrogen that reside in chaotic neighborhoods, where energy from young stars sculpts fantasy-like landscapes in the gas. The tower may be a giant incubator for those newborn stars. A torrent of ultraviolet light from a band of massive, hot, young stars (off the top of the image) is eroding the pillar.

Image credit: NASA

Headcanon time because there’s next to no info about Reyes and I’m Desperate: 

I was trawling through the ME wiki and came across a system in the Eagle Nebula called Amun. The system and the planets within are all named after figures or places in Egyptian mythology and history. There’s Anhur, Bast, Neith, Sekhmet, and Sobek. The system is mostly home to Batarians and humans. 

From 2176 to 2178, the system was the site of the Anhur Rebellions, a civil war that broke out when corrupt politicians and corporations basically relegalised slavery because Batarian legal slavery posed an economic threat. So, you got the mostly Batarian Na'hesit, who, ofc, wanted to keep slavery around, VS the rebels, who wanted to abolish slavery. 

WHICH brings me to my dude, Reyes Vidal. 

Firstly, we know that he used to be a shuttle pilot under the call sign Anubis, a god associated with, among other roles, guiding souls in Egyptian mythology. So ‘Anubis’ is interesting because I feel like that’s not really a name you’d use if you were everyday civilian transport. But it does sound like something you’d use if you were, say, a pilot in a war. Additionally, I have learnt that aviator call signs are given to military pilots in RL and can be inspired by things such as personality traits, historical figures, or the pilot’s exploits. 

Secondly, I think we can safely assume that he’s been in the business of smuggling, spying, and being a shady bastard for a while now. 

Thirdly, Reyes’ writer, Courtney Woods, has said that he’s in his late 20s. Let’s say he’s 28/29 and born in 2156 so he was about 19/20 in 2176. Basically, I’m fairly certain that he was alive back then. 

Fourthly, as not-exactly-good as he is, we know that he’s not a big fan of people with power who shit on people without power. 

Conclusion: Reyes Vidal was born in 2156 in the city of New Thebes on the planet Anhur in the Amun system of the Eagle Nebula. When he was 19, civil war broke out in the city after months of unrest between those who opposed the relegalisation of slavery and those who supported it. The fighting quickly swept across the entire system. 

A pretty good flier and not particularly keen on the idea of being enslaved, Reyes chose to join the rebels. He was given an N-503 shuttle and a weapon and told to get to it. 

Reyes wasn’t on the front lines and didn’t see much of the main fight. His job mostly involved smuggling supplies- food, medi-gel, ammo- across enemy lines, and if he could take out a few Na'hesit lackeys while he was at it, well, that was good too. 

During the war, Eclipse mercs found slave camps on Sobek’s moon, Heqet. He, along with others, helped to move people from Heqet to rebel-controlled safe houses. Subsequently, Reyes was given the call sign Anubis, ‘a ferrier of souls’. They really like Egyptian mythology in Amun. 

When the war ended in 2178, if you weren’t a rebel leader or dead, you disappeared into obscurity. So, after a brief stint as a rebel, Reyes Vidal was left very skilled at smuggling and very low on credits and we all know what happens seven years later.

This craggy fantasy mountaintop enshrouded by wispy clouds looks like a bizarre landscape from Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” or a Dr. Seuss book, depending on your imagination. The NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, which is even more dramatic than fiction, captures the chaotic activity atop a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being assaulted from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks.

This turbulent cosmic pinnacle lies within a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. The image celebrated the 20th anniversary of Hubble’s launch and deployment into an orbit around Earth.

Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from super-hot newborn stars in the nebula are shaping and compressing the pillar, causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of hot ionized gas can be seen flowing off the ridges of the structure, and wispy veils of gas and dust, illuminated by starlight, float around its towering peaks. The denser parts of the pillar are resisting being eroded by radiation much like a towering butte in Utah’s Monument Valley withstands erosion by water and wind.

Nestled inside this dense mountain are fledgling stars. Long streamers of gas can be seen shooting in opposite directions off the pedestal at the top of the image. Another pair of jets is visible at another peak near the center of the image. These jets (known as HH 901 and HH 902, respectively) are the signpost for new star birth. The jets are launched by swirling disks around the young stars, which allow material to slowly accrete onto the stars’ surfaces.

Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 observed the pillar on Feb. 1-2, 2010. The colors in this composite image correspond to the glow of oxygen (blue), hydrogen and nitrogen (green), and sulfur (red).

Object Names: HH 901, HH 902

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

Time And Space

Appearing like a winged fairy-tale creature poised on a pedestal, this object is actually a billowing tower of cold gas and dust rising from a stellar nursery called the Eagle Nebula. The soaring tower is 9.5 light-years or about 57 trillion miles high, about twice the distance from our Sun to the next nearest star.

Stars in the Eagle Nebula are born in clouds of cold hydrogen gas that reside in chaotic neighborhoods, where energy from young stars sculpts fantasy-like landscapes in the gas. The tower may be a giant incubator for those newborn stars. A torrent of ultraviolet light from a band of massive, hot, young stars [off the top of the image] is eroding the pillar.

The starlight also is responsible for illuminating the tower’s rough surface. Ghostly streamers of gas can be seen boiling off this surface, creating the haze around the structure and highlighting its three-dimensional shape. The column is silhouetted against the background glow of more distant gas.

The edge of the dark hydrogen cloud at the top of the tower is resisting erosion, in a manner similar to that of brush among a field of prairie grass that is being swept up by fire. The fire quickly burns the grass but slows down when it encounters the dense brush. In this celestial case, thick clouds of hydrogen gas and dust have survived longer than their surroundings in the face of a blast of ultraviolet light from the hot, young stars.

Inside the gaseous tower, stars may be forming. Some of those stars may have been created by dense gas collapsing under gravity. Other stars may be forming due to pressure from gas that has been heated by the neighboring hot stars.

The first wave of stars may have started forming before the massive star cluster began venting its scorching light. The star birth may have begun when denser regions of cold gas within the tower started collapsing under their own weight to make stars.

The bumps and fingers of material in the center of the tower are examples of these stellar birthing areas. These regions may look small but they are roughly the size of our solar system. The fledgling stars continued to grow as they fed off the surrounding gas cloud. They abruptly stopped growing when light from the star cluster uncovered their gaseous cradles, separating them from their gas supply.

Ironically, the young cluster’s intense starlight may be inducing star formation in some regions of the tower. Examples can be seen in the large, glowing clumps and finger-shaped protrusions at the top of the structure. The stars may be heating the gas at the top of the tower and creating a shock front, as seen by the bright rim of material tracing the edge of the nebula at top, left. As the heated gas expands, it acts like a battering ram, pushing against the darker cold gas. The intense pressure compresses the gas, making it easier for stars to form. This scenario may continue as the shock front moves slowly down the tower.

The dominant colors in the image were produced by gas energized by the star cluster’s powerful ultraviolet light. The blue color at the top is from glowing oxygen. The red color in the lower region is from glowing hydrogen. The Eagle Nebula image was taken in November 2004 with the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

Object Names: Eagle Nebula, M16, NGC 6611, IC 4703

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Time And Space

Stellar spire in the Eagle Nebula

Appearing like a winged fairy-tale creature poised on a pedestal, this object is actually a billowing tower of cold gas and dust rising from a stellar nursery called the Eagle Nebula. The soaring tower is 9.5 light-years or about 90 trillion kilometres high, about twice the distance from our Sun to the next nearest star. Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA)

Undersea corral? Enchanted castles? Space serpents? These eerie, dark pillar-like structures are actually columns of cool interstellar hydrogen gas and dust that are also incubators for new stars. The pillars protrude from the interior wall of a dark molecular cloud like stalagmites from the floor of a cavern. They are part of the “Eagle Nebula” (also called M16 — the 16th object in Charles Messier’s 18th century catalog of “fuzzy” objects that aren’t comets), a nearby star-forming region 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Serpens.

The pillars are in some ways akin to buttes in the desert, where basalt and other dense rock have protected a region from erosion, while the surrounding landscape has been worn away over millennia. In this celestial case, it is especially dense clouds of molecular hydrogen gas (two atoms of hydrogen in each molecule) and dust that have survived longer than their surroundings in the face of a flood of ultraviolet light from hot, massive newborn stars (off the top edge of the picture). This process is called “photoevaporation. "This ultraviolet light is also responsible for illuminating the convoluted surfaces of the columns and the ghostly streamers of gas boiling away from their surfaces, producing the dramatic visual effects that highlight the three-dimensional nature of the clouds. The tallest pillar (left) is about about 4 light-years long from base to tip.

As the pillars themselves are slowly eroded away by the ultraviolet light, small globules of even denser gas buried within the pillars are uncovered. These globules have been dubbed "EGGs.” EGGs is an acronym for “Evaporating Gaseous Globules,” but it is also a word that describes what these objects are. Forming inside at least some of the EGGs are embryonic stars — stars that abruptly stop growing when the EGGs are uncovered and they are separated from the larger reservoir of gas from which they were drawing mass. Eventually, the stars themselves emerge from the EGGs as the EGGs themselves succumb to photoevaporation.

The picture was taken on April 1, 1995 with the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. The color image is constructed from three separate images taken in the light of emission from different types of atoms. Red shows emission from singly-ionized sulfur atoms. Green shows emission from hydrogen. Blue shows light emitted by doubly- ionized oxygen atoms.

Object Names: M16, Eagle Nebula, NGC 6611

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI, J. Hester and P. Scowen (Arizona State University)

Time And Space