Located in the constellation Sagittarius, M17
is an open cluster of about 35 stars within a cloud of gas. As
with M16, the hot stars cause the nebula to shine brightly.
Located about 6,000 light-years from Earth, this is an area of
active star formation. A small telescope will reveal the shape
that gives this nebula its name, resembling a horseshoe or
swan's neck. The glow of the nebula can be seen in a small
telescope, while photographs will show the nebula's red and pink