Messier Objects Project

By Katie Stewart, March 15, 2013.

Basic Description

-M17, NGC 6618.
-Omega, Swan, Horseshoe, or Lobster Nebula.
-Type: nebula, H II region with cluster.
-Distance: between 5,000 and 6,000 light years from Earth
-Apparent Magnitude: +6.0
-Mass: estimated to be 800 solar masses


The nebula is a cloud of interstellar matter. It is composed of dark clouds of dust and molecular gas. It is considered to be one of the most massive and brightest star-forming areas in our galaxy. M17 is made predominantly of hydrogen, but also has trace amounts of sulfur and oxygen atoms.
Nebulae are formed from supernovae debris and the atmospheres of cool giant stars. It's one of the youngest known clusters at the age of about 1 million years. This nebula is a stellar nursery. There is an open cluster of 35 stars, but there are closer to 800 total stars in M17.


Hester, J. "NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration." NASA. NASA, 23 Mar. 2008. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.

Miles, Kathy. "Sagittarius the Archer." Sagittarius the Archer. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.

Nemiroff, Robert. "Astronomy Picture of the Day." APOD: 2012 May 6. NASA, 6 May 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.

"Omega Nebula." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 03 Dec. 2013. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.

Look Above!

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