APOD: Star Factory Messier 17 (2011 Jun 30)

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APOD: Star Factory Messier 17 (2011 Jun 30)

Post by APOD Robot » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:17 am

Image Star Factory Messier 17

Explanation: Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, the star factory known as Messier 17 lies some 5,500 light-years away in the nebula-rich constellation Sagittarius. At that distance, this degree wide field of view spans almost 100 light-years, courtesy of ESO's new VLT Survey Telescope and OmegaCAM. The sharp, false color image includes both optical and infrared data, following faint details of the region's gas and dust clouds against a backdrop of central Milky Way stars. Stellar winds and energetic light from hot, massive stars formed from M17's stock of cosmic gas and dust have slowly carved away at the remaining interstellar material producing the cavernous appearance and undulating shapes. M17 is also known as the Omega Nebula or the Swan Nebula.

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Re: APOD: Star Factory Messier 17 (2011 Jun 30)

Post by Medik 1-7 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:56 am

Might want to double check the date. Here on the Left Coast (as of 2345 hrs) it reads 2011 June 28. ( http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html)

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Re: APOD: Star Factory Messier 17 (2011 Jun 30)

Post by Ann » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:33 am

The best thing about this image is that it shows - maybe - the so-called "champagne flow" of hot gas out of M17, and this "champagne flow" proves that M17 is indeed a massive cluster with many hot young stars. (You can see in today's APOD what looks like a bright broad "jet" streaming out of M17 and forming a bow shock where it collides with the interstellar medium on the left in the picture.)

As for the signifcance of "champagne flows" from young star clusters, http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2003/m17/ writes:
A comparison with other young star clusters confirms that massive young stars are responsible for hot gas clouds like the one seen in the Horseshoe Nebula. The Arches cluster, which contains many massive young stars shows this type of cloud, whereas the central regions of the Orion Nebula, which has few massive young stars, does not.
It should be noted that this Chandra page insists on calling M17 "the Horseshoe Nebula".
The champagne flow in M17 in X-rays. Credit: Chandra and NASA.

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Post by neufer » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:45 am

Ann wrote:
It should be noted that this Chandra page insists on calling M17 "the Horseshoe Nebula".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_Nebula wrote:


<<The Omega Nebula (catalogued as Messier 17 or M17 and as NGC 6618) is also known as the Swan Nebula, Checkmark Nebula, Lobster Nebula, and the Horseshoe Nebula. The Swan portion of M17, the Omega Nebula in the Sagittarius nebulosity is said to resemble a barber’s pole.

The first attempt to accurately draw the nebula (as part of a series of sketches of nebulae) was made by John Herschel in 1833, and published in 1836. He described the nebula as such:

The figure of this nebula is nearly that of a Greek capital omega, Ω, somewhat distorted, and very unequally bright. ... Messier perceived only the bright eastern branch of the nebula now in question, without any of the attached convolutions which were first noticed by my father. The chief peculiarities which I have observed in it are —
 1. The resolvable knot in the eastern portion of the bright branch, which is, in a considerable degree, insulated from the surrounding nebula; strongly suggesting the idea of an absorption of the nebulous matter; and,
2. The much feebler and smaller knot at the northwestern end of the same branch, where the nebula makes a sudden bend at an acute angle.


A second, more detailed sketch was made during his visit to South Africa in 1837. The nebula was also studied by Johann von Lamont and separately by an undergraduate at Yale College, Mr Mason, starting from around 1836. When Herschel published his 1837 sketch in 1847, he wrote:

In particular the large horseshoe-shaped arc … is there represented as too much elongated in a vertical direction and as bearing altogether too large a proportion to [the eastern] streak and to the total magnitude of the object. The nebulous diffusion, too, at the [western] end of that arc, forming the [western] angle and base-line of the capital Greek omega (Ω), to which the general figure of the nebula has been likened, is now so little conspicuous as to induce a suspicion that some real change may have taken place in the relative brightness of this portion compared with the rest of the nebula; seeing that a figure of it made on June 25, 1837, expresses no such diffusion, but represents the arc as breaking off before it even attains fully to the group of small stars at the [western] angle of the Omega. … Under these circumstances the arguments for a real change in the nebula might seem to have considerable weight. Nevertheless, they are weakened or destroyed by a contrary testimony entitled to much reliance. Mr. Mason ... expressly states that both the nebulous knots were well seen by himself and his coadjutor Mr. Smith on August 1, 1839, i.e., two years subsequent to the date of my last drawing. Neither Mr. Mason, however, nor any other observer, appears to have had the least suspicion of the existence of the fainter horseshoe arc attached to the [eastern] extremity of Messier's streak. Dr. Lamont has given a figure of this nebula, accompanied by a description. In this figure, the nebulous diffusion at the [western] angle and along the [western] base-line of the Omega is represented as very conspicuous; indeed, much more so than I can persuade myself it was his intention it should appear.

Sketches were also made by William Lassell in 1862 using his four-foot telescope at Malta, and by M. Trouvelot from Cambridge, Massachusetts and Edward Singleton Holden in 1875 using the twenty-six inch Clark refractor at the United States Naval Observatory.>>
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Re: APOD: Star Factory Messier 17 (2011 Jun 30)

Post by orin stepanek » Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:21 pm

I have trouble seeing a Swan profile in this nebula but it is a beautiful star-forming region and makes a good background. 8-)
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Re: APOD: Star Factory Messier 17 (2011 Jun 30)

Post by alan1000 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:57 pm

As a newly-registering member, you almost had me fooled for a while there with all your 'starship asterisk' nonsense! But to get to the opinion I wanted to express: can we have fewer of the 'star factory' images, which I am beginning to find repetitive, and somewhat more images relating to the cutting edge issues of astronomy?

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Re: APOD: Star Factory Messier 17 (2011 Jun 30)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:07 pm

alan1000 wrote:But to get to the opinion I wanted to express: can we have fewer of the 'star factory' images, which I am beginning to find repetitive, and somewhat more images relating to the cutting edge issues of astronomy?
This is a brand new image, made with brand new technology, which shows a familiar object in a new way. This is about as cutting edge as it gets in observational astronomy!
Chris

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Re: APOD: Star Factory Messier 17 (2011 Jun 30)

Post by islader2 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:45 pm

A brand-new member==ALAN1000==manages to try to offend everyone of us old guard with his or her first post. WOW&OUCH!!! Maybe I should change my nom de plume to 'nonsensical asterisk' since I appreciate the contributions of our editors and the work of fellow members. Keep flaming==ALAN1000==so that we can and may rebut your post(s) with an apt literary bon mot or ancient quote. It might be over your head, but others in this group might enjoy the allusion. Thanx.