Messier 17, the Omega Nebula or Swan Nebula, is a star forming region located about 5,500 light years away towards the constellation Sagittarius. It is one of the most active regions of star formation in the Milky Way, and its fascinating shapes are created by the young, hot stars it contains.
These stars carve away at surrounding dust and gas, stripping away some material and shaping the rest. The ultraviolet radiation also ionizes hydrogen gas. In this process, radiation energizes electrons, stripping them from their nuclei. The electrons recombine into atoms, and release a photon of light, creating the characteristic red glow.
First Image: Cat Paw Nebula is an emission nebula where it’s red hue comes from ionized hydrogen. Can be located in Scorpius and is “5,500 light years distant”! Can be also known as the Bear Claw Nebula or NGC 6334. Fun fact, stars 10 times the mass of the Sun have been born here in the past few mil. years
Second Image: Messier 17 (M17), also known as Star factory is just about as far as the Cat Paw Nebula, some 5,500 light years away in “nebula-rich constellation, Sagittarius "This emission nebula has several names, " Omega Nebula, Swan Nebula, Checkmark Nebula, Lobster Nebula, and the Horseshoe Nebula”
This image from ESO’s VISTA telescope captures a celestial landscape of vast, glowing clouds of gas and tendrils of dust surrounding hot young stars. This infrared view reveals the stellar nursery known as NGC 6357 in a new light. It was taken as part of the VISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea (VVV) survey, which is currently scanning the Milky Way in a bid to map our galaxy’s structure and explain how it formed.
Located in the constellation Scorpius, four magnitude seven stars perfectly align, pointing to the center of the faint emission nebula NGC6357 (aka Southern Crab or Lobster nebula due to its appearance). The nebula complex is approximately 5500 light-years distant.
Astronomy Photo of the Day: 9/26/15 — M17 (The Omega Nebula) Revisited
Messier 17 (M17)—otherwise known as the Lobster Nebula, the Swan Nebula, the Horseshoe Nebula, the Checkmark Nebula, and (most commonly) the Omega Nebula—may go by many names, but its beauty is universal no matter what you choose to call it.
Found around 5,500 light-years from Earth toward the Sagitarrius constellation, Messier 17 is impressively large—spanning around 15 light years across. Within it, over 800 stars have taken shape, with more flickering to life all the time. In fact, astronomers estimate that the nebula harbors more material than 30,000 Suns combined (or around 30,000 solar masses).
This new image, which was taken by the ESO’s Wide Field Imager (a tool on the 2.2-Meter Telescope at La Silla Observatory), is color-coded, you might say. Pinkish-red colors correspond to ionization (or HII regions), the big blue-tinged sections are places where dust is so prevalent, light from embedded stars can’t break through with ease. So it bounces back and forth, scattering more effectively at the blue end of the electromagnetic spectrum. Black can be attributed to dark nebulae. Finally, white colors are the result of interactions between hot gas and starlight.
The blue pinpoints of light signify the presence of high-mass stars.
A hotbed of newly born stars is swaddled in colorful blankets of glowing gas and cradled in an enormous, cold, dark, hydrogen cloud. As the infant stars evaporate the surrounding cloud, they expose dense pockets of gas that may contain developing stars.
Credit: NASA, H. Ford (JHU), G. Illingworth (UCSC/LO), M.Clampin (STScI), G. Hartig (STScI), the ACS Science Team, and ESA
A new image from ESO’s VISTA telescope captures a celestial landscape of glowing clouds of gas and tendrils of dust surrounding hot young stars. This infrared view reveals the stellar nursery known as NGC 6357 in a surprising new light. It was taken as part of a VISTA survey that is currently scanning the Milky Way in a bid to map our galaxy’s structure and explain how it formed.
This is one of the sharpest images showing the rose-coloured star
forming region Messier 17. It not only
reveals its full size but also retains great detail throughout the cosmic
landscape of gas clouds, dust and newborn stars.
The nebula here, located about 5500 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Sagittarius,
may have had more names given
over the ages than any other object of its kind. Although officially
known as Messier 17, its nicknames include: the Omega Nebula,
the Swan Nebula, the Checkmark Nebula, the Horseshoe Nebula and the Lobster Nebula (very graceful).
Swiss astronomer Jean Philippe de Chéseaux discovered this nebula in 1745, but his discovery did not receive widespread attention.
The object was independently rediscovered almost twenty years later by French astronomer Charles Messier, who included it as the seventeenth object in his famous astronomical catalogue.
Although officially known as Messier 17, its nicknames include: the Omega Nebula, the Swan Nebula, the Checkmark Nebula, the Horseshoe Nebula and the Lobster Nebula.
The nebula lies in the heart of our Milky Way Galaxy in the constellation of Sagittarius and is about 5,920 light-years away from us.
It spans about 15 light-years across, and its total mass is an estimated 30,000 solar masses.
Messier 17 appears as a complex red structure with some graduation to pink. Its coloring is a signature of glowing hydrogen gas.
The short-lived blue stars that recently formed in the nebula emit enough UV light to heat up surrounding gas to the extent that it begins to glow brightly.
In the central region the colors are lighter, and some parts appear white. This white color is real – it arises as a result of mixing the light from the hottest gas with the starlight reflected by dust.
The nebula also contains NGC 6618, an open star cluster of 35 stars.
The total number of stars in the nebula, however, is much higher – there are almost 800 stars in the center with even more forming in its outer regions.
Throughout this rosy glow, Messier 17 shows a web of darker regions of dust that obscure the light.
This obscuring material is also glowing and – although these areas are dark in this visible-light image – they look bright when observed using IR cameras.
This image was taken by the Wide Field Imager (WFI) instrument on the MPG/ESO 2.2-m telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, Chile.
The star-forming region of Messer 17 is more popularly known as the Omega Nebula or Swan Nebula … or perhaps you might know it as the Lobster Nebula, Horseshoe Nebula, or maybe even the Checkmark Nebula.
No matter how many names it has, the beauty of this star-forming region is quite singular. The cavernous shape, made visible by creating a composite image from the Subaru and Hubble telescopes, is created when the hot winds from young stars sweep the faint wisps of gas and dust outward.
M17 can be found around 5,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Sagittarius.
Image: Subaru Telescope (NAOJ), Hubble Space Telescope, Color data: Wolfgang Promper, Processing: Robert Gendler