Witness Birth Of Stars In New Image Of Messier 17

A Rose Nebula

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is an organization for astronomic research that is supported by 16 nations; it leads several programs that focus on the design, construction and operation of observing facilities, which enable astronomers to make ground-breaking discoveries. Moreover, the ESO currently owns the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes, and will soon design “world’s biggest eye on the sky” (the largest telescope in the world).

See For Yourself!

Witness Birth Of Stars In New Image Of Messier 17 - Clapway

This week, the organization released images of a spectacular rose-colored star goring on Messier 17, taken with its Very Large Telescope in the Cerro Paranal, Chile. It’s one of the sharpest images of this nebula to date and showcases the fine details of its cosmic landscape.

Messier 17, located about 5,500 light years from Earth, in the constellation of Sagittarius, has many names: the Omega Nebula, Swan Nebula, Checkmark Nebula, Horseshoe Nebula and Lobster Nebula.

The gas and dust clouds in the nebula run about 15 light years across and fuel the creation of new stars. The combined mass of the area is estimated to be over 30,000 times the mass of the Sun. It contains an open star cluster, comprised of 35 stars, known as NGC 6618; there’s also over 800 stars in the center of the nebula, and dozens more being created in the nebula’s outer regions.

The Details

The picture reveals the nebula as a reddish-pink structure, caused by the ultraviolet light transmitted by the blue stars in the region, which makes the gas glow brightly. Some parts, as can be seen, even appear white – the result of the hot gas mixing with starlight reflected by the stardust.

The images are beautiful and revealing: they showcase how the cosmos look like when a new star is born and how the objects around the birth site react as this happens. The nebula, named after French astronomer, Charles Messier, is only a glance at many more images the ESO will soon bring.