AAO image reference AAT 85. « Previous || Next »
Top left is NE. Image width is about 18 arc min
Image and text © 1993-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory, photograph by David Malin.
This object derives its name from its looped shape reminiscent of the Greek letter when the nebula is seen in a telescope. The gas cloud is unusual in that it does not appear to be illuminated by the bright stars that commonly found in emission nebulae such as this. However, the nebulosity is very bright, so the exciting stars must be hidden within the cloud, an idea confirmed by the infrared brightness of the nebula. As well as exciting the nebula we can see, the embedded stars heat the dust that surrounds them, so M17 is one of the brightest objects in the infrared sky. It is in Sagittarius, about 6000 light years distant.
AAT 85a. M17, NGC 6618, the Omega nebula, wide field view
UKS 22. The Milky Way south of Messier 17
For details of photographic exposure, search technical table by AAT reference number.
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