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,
degree wide field of view spans
almost 100 light-years, courtesy of ESO's
VLT Survey Telescope and OmegaCAM.
The sharp, false color image includes both optical and infrared
data, following 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.
Acknowledgement: OmegaCen/Astro-WISE/Kapteyn Institute