Messier 17 - The Omega Nebula

M17 is 5,500 light years away and 15 light years across. It's one of the youngest star clusters in the galaxy -- about 1 million years old. Hydrogen gas and dust is lit up by about 100 very hot O and B class stars. The nebula is actually quite bright at magnitude 6.0. Consider that the Orion nebula is magnitude 4 and 5 times closer. The Omega Nebula would be magnitude 2.5 at the same distance. Of the pair of red stars at the top, the left most is V4029 Sag, an extremely rare luminous blue variable. Only a few hundred exist in our galaxy. Eta Carina is another such star. V4029 Sag appears red because of dust and gas.

6/28/2013 Canon T3i
254mm Newtonian, fl 1200mm
30 minutes of exposures at ISO 800

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