Messier 17 and the Milky Way
AAO image reference UKS 22.    « Previous || Next »

Messier 17, NGC 6618, the Omega nebula in the Milky Way, M17.jpg, NGC6618.jpg
Top left is NE. Image width is about 2.2 degrees
Image and text © 1987-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory
Photograph from UK Schmidt plates by David Malin.


The French astronomer Charles Messier (1730-1817) listed over 100 objects he saw as nebulous to avoid confusing them with comets, which were his main interest. Three of Messier's objects appear in this picture. A little below the bright red emission nebula M17 at the upper centre of the picture is M18, a group of faint stars which is only conspicuous because, like M17, it is set in a relatively dark region of the Milky Way. The rich cloud of stars more or less in the middle of the photograph was listed by Messier as number 24 in his catalogue and it contains the open cluster NGC 6603, while towards the bottom of this field is a small group of nebulosities that Messier either did not see or which he considered to be too faint to interfere with his comet seeking. These are the two blue reflection nebulae NGC 6589-90 and the emission nebulae IC 1283-4, seen in more detail in AAT 20.

This image includes parts of Scutum, Sagittarius and Serpens.

Related images
AAT 20 .  NGC 6589-90 and IC 1283-4
AAT 85 .  Messier 17, NGC 6618, the Omega nebula
AAT 85a. M17, NGC 6618, the Omega nebula, wide field view

For details of object position and photographic exposure, search technical table by UKS reference number.

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Updated by David Malin, 2010, July 25