The Omega Nebula
to radiation from these hot, young stars; however, the actual number of stars in the nebula is much higher - up to 800, 100 of spectral type earlier than B9, and 9 of spectral type O, plus over a thousand stars in formation on its outer regions. It is also one of the youngest clusters known, with an age of just 1 million years. The luminous blue variable HD 168607, located in the south-east part of the Omega nebula, is generally assumed to be associated with it; its close neighbor, the blue hypergiant HD 168625, may be too. The Swan portion of M17, the Omega Nebula in the Sagittarius nebulosity is said to resemble a barber’s pole.
About this photograph
The Omega Nebula is between 5,000 and 6,000 light-years from Earth and it spans some 15 light-years in diameter. The cloud of interstellar matter of which this nebula is a part is roughly 40 light-years in diameter and has a mass of 30,000 solar masses. The total mass of the Omega Nebula is an estimated 800 solar masses. It is considered one of the brightest and most massive star-forming regions of our galaxy. Its local geometry is similar to the Orion Nebula except that it is viewed edge-on rather than face-on. The open cluster NGC 6618 lies embedded in the nebulosity and causes the gases of the nebula to shine to radiation from these hot, young stars; however, the actual