Alt. Designations: NGC 6618
Object Type: Emission Nebula
Constellation: Sagittarius
Distance: 5 kly
Right Ascension: 18h 20m 47.0s
Declination: -16° 10´ 18"
Visual Magnitude: 6
Apparent Dimension: 20.0´ X 15.0´
Best Month To View: Jun

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 colors.