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Lagoon and Trifid nebulae

Lagoon and Trifid nebulae

R576/0044

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Credit

JERRY LODRIGUSS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JERRY LODRIGUSS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Lagoon and Trifid nebulae. The Lagoon (M8, NGC 6523; bottom) and Trifid (M20, NGC 6514) nebulae are huge glowing clouds of dust and gas, most of which is hydrogen, some 3500 light years away in the constellation Sagittarius. Extremely hot young stars in the nebulae flood the gases with ultraviolet radiation, which ionises the hydrogen, causing it to emit red light. The blue part of the Trifid nebula is a cooler dust cloud that reflects the blue light of nearby stars.

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