Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation,
the star factory known as
lies some 5,500 light-years away in the nebula-rich constellation
At that distance, this degree wide field of view spans
almost 100 light-years.
composite, color image
utilizing data from space and ground based telescopes,
follows faint details of the region's gas and dust clouds
against a backdrop of central
Milky Way stars.
Stellar winds and energetic light
from hot, massive stars formed from M17's stock of cosmic gas
and dust have slowly carved away at the remaining interstellar material
producing the cavernous appearance and
also known as the
Omega Nebula or the Swan Nebula.