From July 28th I captured this nebula low in the southern sky. Despite what seemed unsettled air and not the best guiding, the 1 hour 20 minutes of 5 minute subs combined for a nice presentation. A very warm evening with a few shooting stars and near new moon darkness. So nice to out in!
The Omega Nebula – M17 – is visible through binoculars and glorious in a low power telescope. It’s one of our galaxy’s vast star-forming regions. Barely visible to the unaided eye on a dark , moonless night, Messier 17 – aka the Omega Nebula – is best seen through binoculars or low power on a telescope. It’s very near another prominent nebula known as Messier 16, the Eagle Nebula , home nebula of the famous Pillars of Creation photograph. These two closely-knit patches of haze readily fit within the same binocular field of view.
How to see M17. If you want to see deep-sky objects like this one, learn to recognize the constellation Sagittarius the Archer. It’s located in the direction of the center of our Milky Way galaxy; many beautiful star clusters and nebulae can be found in this part of the sky. Luckily, this constellation contains an easy-to-find star pattern, or asterism, in the shape of a teapot. From the legendary Teapot asterism in Sagittarius, it’s fairly easy to star-hop to the Omega Nebula and its companion nebula, M16.
From the Teapot, draw an imaginary line from the star Kaus Austrinus and pass just east (left) of the star Kaus Media to locate M16 and M17. These two nebulae are close together and located about one fist-width above the Teapot.
As seen from the Northern Hemisphere, the Teapot, M16 and M17 are summertime objects. They’re highest up when due south on late August evenings.
When you look at either M16 or M17, you’re gazing at deep-sky wonders in the next spiral arm inward: the Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way galaxy. The M17 Omega Nebula is thought to be around 5,000 light-years away.