Swan Nebula 'star factory' reveals protostar treasure to NASA's flying telescope


Oct 22, 2019
SOFIA, the airplane-mounted telescope, gathered data that is changing astronomers' understanding of a massive star factory.

Swan Nebula 'star factory' reveals protostar treasure to NASA's flying telescope : Read more
For telescope users, this is M17 and an excellent view using my 10-inch Newtonian. I enjoy views at lower power, about 35x and near 2-degree true FOV using a 2-inch eyepiece. M17 takes higher power too. A brighter band area in the nebula very distinct. On 22nd of January, I viewed the Trapezium stars (all six) at 155x in M42. In M42, the high mass stars are blasting the nebula apart and dissipating in various places. Perhaps similar erosion is taking place in Swan too. Here is another report on SOFIA observations. The Second Results of SOFIA Mid-Infrared Imaging Survey toward Giant HII Regions: M17 From the abstract.

"We present the second results of a mid-infrared survey with SOFIA-FORCAST 20 & 37 micrometer images toward Milky Way Giant HII (GHII) regions. We carried out an in-depth analysis of M17, that is the closest GHII region at distance about 2kpc and a site of active on-going high-mass star formation. In conjunction with previous near- to far-infrared observations, we created the spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of the individual of proto-star candidates that we found in M17, which we then tried to fit to massive young stellar object (MYSO) models. We found seven mid-infrared defined MYSOs in M17, four of which were identified as such for the first time. We also investigated the kinematic processes in M17 by utilizing sub-mm dust emission maps and mm molecular line data for the molecular clump candidates. The two different tracers of clump evolution, luminousity-to-mass ratio and viral parameter, show the M17 southern bar is likely younger than northern bar. "

The nebula age differences are *likely*.