Gallery: The Omega Nebula

The Omega Nebula

This image of the Omega Nebula (Messier 17), captured by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT), is one of the sharpest of this object ever taken from the ground. It shows the dusty, rosy central parts of the famous star-forming region.

A NEW IMAGE OF THE HEART of the Omega Nebula, captured by the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), is one of the sharpest of this object ever taken from the ground.

It shows the dusty, rose-colored central parts of this famous stellar nursery and reveals extraordinary detail in the cosmic landscape of gas clouds, dust and newborn stars.

The colourful gas and dark dust in the Omega Nebula serve as the raw materials for creating the next generation of stars.

In this particular section of the nebula, the newest stars on the scene—dazzlingly bright and shining blue-white—light up the whole ensemble. The nebula’s smoky-looking ribbons of dust stand in silhouette against the glowing gas.

The dominant reddish colours of this portion of the cloud-like expanse, arise from hydrogen gas, glowing under the influence of the intense ultraviolet rays from the hot young stars.

The Omega Nebula goes by many names, depending on who observed it when and what they thought they saw. These other titles include the Swan Nebula, the Horseshoe Nebula and even the Lobster Nebula. The object has also been catalogued as Messier 17 (M17) and NGC 6618.

The nebula is located about 6,500 light-years away and is a popular target for astronomers, as it ranks as one of the youngest and most active stellar nurseries for massive stars in the Milky Way.

A wider view of the Omega Nebula

A wider view of the Omega Nebula.

Download wallpapers of the Omega Nebula:

1024×768 (286.1 KB)

1280×1024 (450.0 KB)

1600×1200 (664.9 KB)

1920×1200 (707.6 KB)

Adapted from information issued by ESO.

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