Messier 24 and vicinity   HOME INDEX BACK NEXT

Five objects from Charles Messier’s catalog can be easily seen in this view of the Milky Way on the border of Sagittarius and Serpens.  The large bright patch of stars at the bottom center of the image is Messier 24, also called Small Sagittarius Star Cloud.  The open cluster to the bottom left is Messier 25, a loose group of about 50 stars, 2000 light years away.  The open cluster to the bottom right is Messier 23, which contains about 120 stars, 1400 light years away.  The pink nebula at the top of the frame is Messier 16, the Eagle Nebula, and the pink nebula closer to the center is Messier 17, the Swan Nebula.  Many of the dark areas, such as those around Messier 24, are not regions without stars but rather dark nebulae—vast expanses of dust that block the light of the stars behind them.

Image details:  6-minute exposure on Kodak Ektar 1000 film using a Canon camera and an Aero-Ektar lens with a focal length of 178 mm. 

July 1992