Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2019 May 21
Explanation: These three bright nebulae are often featured on telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of the central Milky Way. In fact, 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier catalogued two of them; M8, the large nebula just left of centre, and colourful M20 on the top left. The third emission region includes NGC 6559 and can be found to the right of M8. All three are stellar nurseries about five thousand light-years or so distant. Over a hundred light-years across, the expansive M8 is also known as the Lagoon Nebula. M20's popular moniker is the Trifid. Glowing hydrogen gas creates the dominant red colour of the emission nebulae. In striking contrast, blue hues in the Trifid are due to dust reflected starlight. Recently formed bright blue stars are visible nearby. The colourful composite skyscape was recorded in 2018 in Teide National Park in the Canary Islands, Spain.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.