The Swan Nebula M17, like many other emission nebulae, shows red light emitted from hydrogen gas clouds excited by
the high energy of young stars. Unlike other nebula of its class, the bright stars that are energizing the Swan nebula are
concealed by dense dust. Some of this dust in the center of the Swan both obscures and reflects the light from these bright
stars. White and blue light reflected by dust, combined with red light emitted by hydrogen, create a mix of pink and
magenta tones in the center of the Swan.
The Swan nebula lies 5,500 light years away in the constellation Sagittarius.
This image combined 60 minutes of exposures through a hydrogen-alpha filter with 24 minutes red, 18 minutes green, and
27 minutes blue exposures. An ST10XME camera with an AP 0.67x reducer was used through a Meade 12" LX200R, at
the Hidden Lake Observatory.
Music: Swan Lake, by Tchaikovsky