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 November 4
Explanation: Stars are battling gas and dust in the Lagoon Nebula but the photographers are winning. Also known as M8, this photogenic nebula is visible even without binoculars towards the constellation of the Archer (Sagittarius). The energetic processes of star formation create not only the colours but the chaos. The glowing gas results from high-energy starlight striking interstellar hydrogen gas and trace amounts of sulfur, and oxygen gases. The dark dust filaments that lace M8 were created in the atmospheres of cool giant stars and in the debris from supernovae explosions. The light from M8 we see today left about 5,000 years ago. Light takes about 50 years to cross this section of M8.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.