M17: The Swan Nebula

Click on image for larger version.

This object also often called the Omega Neblula or rarely the Horseshoe Nebula. This image is deep enough that the "swan-ness" of the nebula is lost in the convoluted turmoil of gas and dust. However if you squint at the screen, you will find that the brightest parts of the nebula make a convincing bird floating on the water with the head (dark area) on the left and the wings extending up and to the right. The body of the Swan is about twelve lightyears long, but that is only the brightest portion. There are fainter, irregular clumps of gas that stretch for forty lightyears or more.

The Swan is about 5700 lightyears away towards the constellation of Sagittarius.


20in RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/8.4
Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount
SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

R R G B color production was used to create this image.

Luminance = (synthetic RGB combined) 30 minutes binned 1x1
Red = 30 minutes binned 1x1
Green = 30 minutes binned 1x1
Blue = 30 minutes binned 1x1

  • One iteration of L-R deconvolution (sharpening) algorithm using CCDsharp was applied to the luminance image.

  • Minimum credit line: Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF

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    Updated: 8/28/2003