Swan Nebula

The Swan Nebula (also known as the Omega Nebula) is 5,000 to 6,000 light years away and is one of the largest star-forming areas in our galaxy. NASA recently released this image of the nebula obtained from the SOFIA Telescope.

Uncovering the nebula’s secrets is no simple task. It’s located more than 5,000 light years away in the constellation Sagittarius. Its center is filled with more than 100 of the galaxy’s most massive young stars. These stars may be many times the size of our Sun, but the youngest generations are forming deep in cocoons of dust and gas, where they are very difficult to see, even with space telescopes. Because the central region glows very brightly, the detectors on space telescopes were saturated at the wavelengths SOFIA studied, similar to an over-exposed photo. SOFIA’s infrared camera called FORCAST, the Faint Object Infrared Camera for the SOFIA Telescope, however, can pierce through these cocoons.

Swan Nebula
Swan Nebula

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