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VST Image of the Star-forming Region Messier 17
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Name: Messier 17
Description: Star Formation Nebula
Position (J2000): RA 18hr 20m 47s Dec -16° 10.3'
Constellation: Sagittarius
Distance: 5500 light years
Image Credit: ESO/INAF-VST/OmegaCAM.
       Ack: OmegaCen/Astro-WISE/Kapteyn Institute
Release date: June 8, 2011

More Images:  N1119  N1044  N0030  N0211g  N0925  N0313  N1201  N0211c
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The VLT Survey Telescope (VST), the latest addition to ESO's Paranal Observatory, has made its first release of impressive images of the southern sky. The VST is a state-of-the-art 2.6-meter telescope, with the huge 268-megapixel camera OmegaCAM at its heart, which is designed to map the sky both quickly and with very fine image quality. It is a visible-light telescope that perfectly complements ESO's VISTA infrared survey telescope. New images of the Omega Nebula and the globular cluster Omega Centauri demonstrate the VST's power

The first released image shows the spectacular star-forming region Messier 17, also known as the Omega Nebula or the Swan Nebula, as it has never been seen before. This dramatic region of gas, dust and hot young stars lies in the heart of the Milky Way in the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer). The VST field of view is so large that the entire nebula, including its fainter outer parts, is captured - and retains its superb sharpness across the entire image.

The data was processed using the Astro-WISE software system developed by E.A. Valentijn and collaborators at Groningen and elsewhere.