- uploaded: Jul 11, 2010
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The Hidden Universe of the Spitzer Space Telescope (Episode 32): The Dragon and the Swan.
Hidden behind a dark veil of dust in the constellation Sagittarius, a lurking dragon has been revealed by the infrared eye of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. It gives us a glimpse into how spiral arms affect the formation of stars.
This is the Hidden Universe of the Spitzer Space Telescope, exploring the mysteries of infrared astronomy with your host Dr. Robert Hurt.
The Omega Nebula, also known as the Swan Nebula and the Horseshoe Nebula (catalogued as Messier 17 or M17 and as NGC 6618) is an H II region in the constellation Sagittarius. It was discovered by Philippe Loys de ChÃ©seaux in 1745. Charles Messier catalogued it in 1764. It is located in the rich starfields of the Sagittarius area of the Milky Way.
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. The total mass of the Omega Nebula is an estimated 800 solar masses.
A open cluster of 35 stars lies embedded in the nebulosity and causes the gases of the nebula to shine due to radiation from these hot, young stars.
'The Hidden Universe' video series showcases some of the most exciting discoveries in infrared astronomy from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Looking beyond the visible spectrum of light, Spitzer can see a whole new universe of dust and stars hidden from our Earth-bound eyes.