Messier 17: Omega Nebula

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.

Image from National Geographic, information from HubbleSite.


     First ImageCat 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 NebulaSwan NebulaCheckmark NebulaLobster Nebula, and the Horseshoe Nebula

Sources: * NASA Archives (1)
               * NASA Archives (2)


You may know this nebula as the Swan, the Lobster, the Horseshoe, or the Omega, and it is cataloged both as Messier 17 and NGC 6618. No matter what you call it, there is no denying the beauty of this stellar nursery. 

M17 is located in the constellation of Sagittarius and spans about 15 light-years. It’s around 5,000 light-years away and is estimated to contain 800 solar masses. 

The image found in this previous Universe post [http://on.fb.me/UV9OZU] is well-known due to its vibrant colors, but this new view was captured by ex-NASA scientist Fred Herrmann of Huntsville, AL, USA. Herrmann used a Takahashi TOA-130 Telescope, STT-8300 Monochrome CCD Camera, and Ha and Oiii elemental filters for this image. 


Image: Fred Herrmann / Owl Mountain Observatory

Messier 17: Omega Nebula

Messier 17, also cataloged NGC 6618 and called the Omega Nebula, Swan Nebula, Horseshoe Nebula or Lobster Nebula, is a star forming region located about 5,500 light years away in the constellation Sagittarius. This view is about 100 light years across. The shape of the nebula was formed by stellar winds and light from massive, hot stars.

Messier 17 is one of the youngest and most active stellar nurseries for massive stars in the Milky Way. It contains dust filaments created from debris of supernovae and in the atmospheres of cool giant stars, as well as glowing hydrogen gas illuminated by radiation from the new stars. Dark globules in the nebula indicate systems just beginning to form stars and planets.

Image from NASA, information from NASA and ESO.

Heart of the Omega Nebula

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


Sweeping the Dust from a Cosmic Lobster

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.

Read More.

Composite images obtained with the 3.58-metre NTT at La Silla Observatory. 

The Omega Nebula, also known as the Swan Nebula, Checkmark Nebula, Lobster Nebula, and the Horseshoe Nebula (catalogued as Messier 17 or M17 and as NGC 6618) is an H II region in the constellation Sagittarius. It was discovered by Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1745. Charles Messier catalogued it in 1764. It is located in the rich starfields of the Sagittarius area of the Milky Way.

Credit: ESO

(NASA)  What unusual eggs have been laid by this majestic swan? The star forming region above, known as Swan Nebula, is the home of hot red-glowing gas, dark lanes of dust,bright young stars and – what are those? Of the few stars visible in the Swan Nebula, several have quite unusual colors and are hypothesized to be very young stars still shrouded by gas from the cloud that formed them. The Swan Nebula is quite large and massive as it contains roughly 1000 times the mass of our Sun. The bright central region is about 15 light years across lies about 5000 light years away toward the constellation of Sagittarius. The distinctive shape causes this region to have several other names, including the Omega Nebula, the Horseshoe Nebula, and the Lobster Nebula.


Pixel Pusher - Lobster Nebula (2015 Demo)