The Omega Nebula, M17

[M17, Omega]

About this image

The Omega Nebula, M17 or NGC6618, in the constellation Sagittarius. M17 is a bright emission nebula excited by young stars, but with lanes of opaque dust; it is also referred to as the Swan Nebula and the Horseshoe Nebula. M17 is about 5700 light-years away and contains about 800 solar masses of material within its 17-light-year diameter. It is also a source of radio emission. M17 is located, along with its neighbor, the Eagle Nebula, M16, in the Sagittarius-Carina spiral arm of our Milky Way galaxy.

This image was created from 21 observations made at the Burrell Schmidt telescope (owned by the Warner and Swasey Observatory of the Case Western Reserve University and situated on Kitt Peak in southwest Arizona), in May 1995 and June 1996 during observing experience for the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program operated at the Kitt Peak National Observatory and supported by the National Science Foundation. Image size 28.8 arc minutes.

We also have optical pictures from the KPNO 0.9-meter and the KPNO Mayall 4-meter telescopes, an emission line image from the KPNO Schmidt, revealing physical conditions in the nebula, and an interesting infrared image from the KPNO 2.1-meter telescope.

More: nebulae page, emission nebulae page, messier page.

Minimum credit line: Hillary Mathis, N.A.Sharp, REU program/NOAO/AURA/NSF

Downloadable versions:
400 x 400 39 kb color JPEG (on this page)
1700 x 1700 608 kb color JPEG
1700 x 1700 2.8 Mb 8-bit color TIFF
1700 x 1700 8.4 Mb 24-bit color TIFF
(see NOAO Conditions of Use)

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