Herschelís Far-infrared and Sub-millimetre View of Ongoing Star Formation in the Eagle Nebula (M16)

Anthony Marston (Herschel Science Centre, ESA)

A.P. Marston, G. White, T. Hill, F. Motte and the HOBYS consortium


The M16 (Eagle nebula) region is a classic star forming region containing a large number of known young stellar objects (YSOs) and the young stellar cluster, NGC 6611.

We present initial analysis of new Herschel Observatory images of an area of 1.5◊1.5 degrees at five far-infrared wavelengths between 70 and 500 microns.

We have reconstructed maps at multiple infrared wavelengths and use them to reveal the general dust temperature variations across the region and density of dust. We also extract the multi-wavelength fluxes for clumps of far-infrared/sub-millimetre emission in the field using a multi-resolution analysis technique.

We show that gas and dust is strongly aggregated into shells and filaments, including the famous pillars of the M16 region. Approximately 1300 clumps are revealed with many only being visible at the longer wavelengths, indicating very cold starless cores. Source clumps are associated with the strongly emitting, more filamentary structures of M16, with the coolest clumps being more embedded within the densest regions. Typically the Herschel sources are of class 0 and I and therefore the very earliest phases of star formation, as opposed to the class I and II sources revealed by mid-infrared observations.

A clear sequence of star formation is evident in the central regions of the M16 region with more recently formed objects appearing around an inner region filled with warmer dust associated with the young cluster NGC6611. We also provide evidence for the preferential formation of high-mass stars in propagated star formation.