M17 The Swan Nebula
Once upon a time,when the skies were clear and the seeing was good,I was able to take my scope out and enjoy the night.Unfortunately,mother nature has had other plans and decided to cover us with a blanket of haze and clouds.I guess this is a welcome to summer here in NewHampshire?!.Other amateur astronomers from other parts of the world are reporting pretty much the same conditions,so I guess I am not the only one who feels like they are being picked on. Mark from the UK has been dealing with heavy rain and floods.I am pretty sure that Peter has been dealing with the same weather that I have been having.Add the haze and clouds to the light pollution of NYC and you have a formula for staying home,drinking a few adult beverages and watching a good movie.Oh well,better skies have got to arrive sooner or later….right?.
One of the last real nice nights that I had the scope out (over a month ago),I had the pleasure of seeing and imaging the emission nebula M17 a.k.a the Swan nebula located in the constellation Sagittarius some 5000 ly’s distant.This is a nebula that is VERY easy to see because,it is nearly as bright as the Orion nebula!.The color of the Omega Nebula is reddish, with some graduation to pink. This color comes from the hot hydrogen gas which is excited to shine by the hottest stars which have just formed within the nebula. However, the brightest region is actually of white color, not overexposed as one might think. This phenomenon is apparently a result of a mixture of emission light from the hottest gas, together with reflections of the bright star light from the dust in this region. The nebula contains a large amount of dark obscuring material, which is obvious in its remarkable features. This matter has been heated by the hidden young stars, and shines brightly in infrared light.If you have the clear and clean skies,I would suggest making this neb a object to look for!.Oh and before I forget.For those of you that may be interested.As of this morning a new set of sunspots have just come into view on the suns limb.Soho has yet to assign a number to them,so I will call them sunspot#962-3.