This busy, buzzing hive of stellar activity can be found near the center of our galaxy, in the Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way. Overall, it takes up nearly 7 full degrees of the sky and contains some of the most beautiful celestial regions in our galaxy; from the famous Eagle nebula — along with its many layers, like the Pillars of Creation and the Fairy of the Eagle nebula (all on the far right) — to Messier 17, or the Omega nebula (pictured near the center).
Also pictured are a few notable groupings of stars, like the Messier 25 open cluster (located in the upper left) and the lesser-known M24 cluster (otherwise known as the Sagittarius Star Cloud). M25 alone spans approximately 20 light-years across and inhabits a region of space about 2,000 light-years from Earth, which makes it much closer to us than many of the other regions contained wherein. M24, on the other-hand, is a lot more expansive. It stretches more than 600 light-years in length, with over one thousand stars visible in one single field of view.
A Closer Look At These Regions:
All of these regions were found by Charles Messier: a legendary astronomer most famous for his work on what's now called the Messier Catalog.
Other Beautiful Messier Objects:
See a larger image (courtesy of NASA's APOD) here.