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.
2007 August 4
These three bright nebulae are often
featured in telescopic tours of the constellation
Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of
the central Milky Way.
In fact, 18th century cosmic tourist
cataloged two of them; M8, the nebula below and right of center,
and colorful M20 at the upper right.
The third, NGC 6559, is left of M8,
separated from the the larger nebula by a dark dust lane.
All three are stellar nurseries about
five thousand light-years or so distant.
The expansive M8, over a hundred light-years across,
is also known as the Lagoon Nebula while M20's popular moniker is
This stunning digital view is actually a collaborative
composite recorded by 2 cameras and 2 telescopes
about 2 thousand miles apart.
The deep, wide image field was captured under dark
Both M8 and M20 were recorded in more detail from
observatory in Pennsylvania.
Glowing hydrogen gas creates the dominant red color of the
emission nebulae, with contrasting blue hues, most striking in the
Trifid, due to dust reflected starlight.
Authors & editors:
(MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman. Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA/GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.