The Eagle Nebula is located about 7,000 light years from Earth, in the constellation Serpens. It is a combination of an open cluster (a loose grouping of related stars) and a gaseous nebula consisting of gas and dust. It is relatively young (about 5.5 million years) and is an active area for new star formation. The dark areas near the center of the nebula are the famous "Pillars of Creation" imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope (see Hubble image below). They are dark, not because they are "holes" in the nebula, but rather because they are made up of dust that blocks the light of the nebula. It is thought that stars are forming inside the pillars and eventually will become visible as the pillars "evaporate".
This image was taken May 9, 10 and 22 2010 as well as additional exposures on June 17 under generally adverse seeing conditions. It is a combined exposure of 11 hours through my Hyperion astrograph and an SBIG STL-11000m Camera. The imaging sessions were under the control of CCDAutopilot 4. Click on the image for a more detailed view.