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Bringing the Universe to Classrooms
and Homes Around the World!

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Featured Deep-Sky Object - The Omega Nebula

Insight Observatory's featured deep-sky object for this post is M17, the Omega Nebula, also known as the Swan Nebula, Checkmark Nebula, and the Horseshoe Nebula (catalogued as Messier 17 or M17 or NGC 6618). 

The Omega Nebula is an H II region in the constellation Sagittarius and was discovered by Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1745. Charles Messier catalogued it in 1764. It is located in the rich starfields of the Sagittarius area of the Milky Way.

M17, the Omega Nebula imaged on Insight Observatory's ATEO-3 located in the dark skies of Chile. Image data by Franck Jobard and Processed by Utkarsh Mishra.
M17, the Omega Nebula imaged on Insight Observatory's ATEO-3 located in the dark skies of Chile. image data by Franck Jobard and processed by Utkarsh Mishra.

M17 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 due to radiation from these hot, young stars. However, the actual number of stars in the nebula is much higher. It is also one of the youngest clusters known, with an age of just 1 million years.

The Swan portion of M17, the Omega Nebula in the Sagittarius nebulosity is said to resemble a barber's pole.

Insight Observatory's 5" f/5.8 Williams Optics APO Refractor (ATEO-2A) located in the dark skies of New Mexico, US (left) and processed image data of M17, the Omega Nebula from 2.5 hours by Utkarsh Mishra (upper right) and Michael Petrasko (lower right). Image data acquired by John Evelan.
Insight Observatory's 5" f/5.8 Williams Optics APO Refractor (ATEO-2A) located in the dark skies of New Mexico, US (left) and processed image data of M17, the Omega Nebula from 2.5 hours by Utkarsh Mishra (upper right) and Michael Petrasko (lower right). Image data acquired by John Evelan.

Insight Observatory has recently started an image set for Starbase of M17 that will be ready for download within the next few months. This image set is currently being created on the 5" f/5.8 Williams Optics APO refractor (ATEO-2A) located in New Mexico. So far there are 2.5 hours of data from the image set completed and the total is planned to be between 6 and 8 hours of data integration. The images of the Omega Nebula pictured with ATEO-2A imaging system above were processed with the 2.5 hours of data taken so far on ATEO-2A.

M17, the Omega Nebula (pictured right) imaged and processed by Frank Jobard with the 12.5" f/9 Ritchey Chretien, ATEO-3 (pictured above left) housed in Deep Sky Chile's remote observatory located in the dark skies of the Hurtado Valley, Chile (pictured lower left).
M17, the Omega Nebula (pictured right) imaged and processed by Frank Jobard with the 12.5" f/9 Ritchey Chretien, ATEO-3 (pictured above left) housed in Deep Sky Chile's remote observatory located in the dark skies of the Hurtado Valley, Chile (pictured lower left).

Insight Observatory currently has image sets of M17, the Omega Nebula, available for download on Starbase that was imaged on the 12.5" f/9 Ritchey Chretien remote telescope, (ATEO-3) located in dark skies of Chile. These image sets contain 4.5 hours of Red, Blue, and Green data and 8 hours and 15 minutes of H-Alpha data.

You can subscribe to and download these M17 image sets and others by signing up for an ATEO Portal account or signing into your existing portal account to access Starbase.

Source: Wikipedia
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Friday, August 7, 2020

New Affiliate Remote Telescopes

Insight Observatory is excited to announce a new collaboration with SkyGems Observatories!

Screenshot of AFIL-3: The 20" f/6.7 iDK Dall-Kirkham remote telescope option being selected on Insight Observatory's online Personal Image Request (PIR) application.
Screenshot of AFIL-3: The 20" f/6.7 iDK Dall-Kirkham remote telescope option being selected on Insight Observatory's online Personal Image Request (PIR) application.

Both of Insight Observatory's online image request applications will now have two additional remote telescope options for capturing deep-sky image data. The Educational Image Request (EIR)  and Personal Image Request (PIR) forms now lists the following options...

  • ATEO-1: 16" f/3.7 Astrograph - New Mexico, US
  • ATEO-2A: 5" f/5.8 FLT APO Refractor - New Mexico, US
  • ATEO-3: 12.5" f/6 Ritchey-Chretien - Rio Hurtado Valley, Chile
  • AFIL-3: 20" f/6.7 Dall-Kirkham - Namibia, Southern Africa
  • AFIL-4: 14.5" f/6.3 Newtonian - Nerpio, Spain

AFIL-3: 20" f/6.7 Dall-Kirkham located in Hakos, Namibia (left) and AFIL-4: 14.5" f/6.3 Newtonian located in Nerpio, Spain (right).
AFIL-3: 20" f/6.7 Dall-Kirkham located in Hakos, Namibia (left) and AFIL-4: 14.5" f/6.3 Newtonian
 located in Nerpio, Spain (right).

Due to the effects of monsoon season in the southwest of the US, these additional options will allow students and the public to access deep-sky image data in alternate locations in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

Specifications of the AFIL-3 20" Dall-Kirkham Imaging System:
  • 20" f/6.7 AG Optical iDK Dall-Kirkham
  • ASA DDM85XL mount
  • FLI Proline 16803 CCD
  • Filters: LRGB, Ha7 OIII SII

Specifications of the AFIL-4 14.5" Reflector Imaging System:
  • 14.5" f/6.3 Newtonian Reflector
  • ASA DDM85XL mount
  • FLI Microline 16200 CCD
  • Filters: LRGB, Ha7, OIII, SII

This is only the first phase of integrating these two fine imaging systems. Phase 2 will be adding 5 hours or more of deep-sky imaging data to Starbase, Insight Observatory's image set repository, and the final phase will be adding them as options on our new version of the ATEO Portal.

LRGB image of NGC 6357 - Diffuse nebula in the constellation Scorpius imaged on AFIL-3   remote telescope located in Namibia. Image courtesy of Lukas Demetz.
LRGB image of NGC 6357 - Diffuse nebula in the constellation Scorpius imaged on AFIL-3 
remote telescope located in Namibia. Image courtesy of Lukas Demetz.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Lukas Demetz of SkyGems Observatories for partnering up with Insight Observatory and contributing to our mission of "Bringing the Universe to Classrooms and Homes Around the World!".

For more information on using the EIR for educational use or the PIR for acquiring a deep-sky image for personal use, please Contact Us.

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