Photo of the Week for July 5, 2019
The summer Milky Way is a rich and rewarding stretch of sky for visual observers and astrophotographers alike. The most densely packed region is the 20-degree swath that extends northeast from the spout of the Sagittarius Teapot. Lying in the thick of this cloud of celestial steam is M17, also known as the Omega Nebula or the Swan Nebula. The brightest part of the nebula can be seen in binoculars and is a delight in a small telescope, which reveals the swan (or “check-mark”) shape readily. (The Swan is swimming upside down in this north-up shot.) The intricate detail and faint nebulosity that give rise to the Omega moniker show up well in long-exposure photographs like this one by Ashton, Ontario, astrophotographer Wade Clare.
Wade recorded the many-named nebula and its surroundings on June 6, 2019, with a modified Nikon D5300 DSLR camera and a Sky-Watcher 80ED refractor telescope (fitted with a Tele Vue 0.8× focal reducer). The final image combines 30, 7-minute exposures shot at ISO 400.