M17 - The Swan Nebula and Surroundings

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M17 region
  • RA: 18:20.8 (M17)
  • Dec: -16.11
  • Magnitude: 6.0
  • Distance: 5,000 ly
  • Size:  11 arc min
  • Constellation:  Sagittarius
  • Scope: Orion ED80 at f/7
  • Autoguider:  ST-4 in average mode
  • Sky conditions:  above average transparency and seeing
  • Film: Hap Griffin modified Canon 350XT, ISO 800
  • Exposure:  9 x 5 minutes
  • Date:  June 25, 2009
Comments:  I decided to do a photo of the M17 area with the ED80. Thunderstorms had rolled through the Ransom, IL site earlier in the day. The sky cleared nicely. During the evening we could see lightening flashes from the thunderstorms that were now down near Peoria and moving south. The Omega Nebula, also called the Swan Nebula and the Horseshoe Nebula, is a region of star formation and shines by excited emission, caused by the higher energy radiation of young stars. The mass of gas in the nebula has been estimated to about 800 times that of the sun, enough for forming a conspicuous cluster and a good deal more than the Orion nebula. Visible in the bottom left of the image is the open cluster M18. In the right side of the image is the open cluster NGC6596 (right center) and the emission nebula IC4701.