NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Lagoon Nebula. Optical image of the Lagoon Nebula (M8, NGC 6523), a large starbirth region. This cloud of gas and dust lies around 3500 light years from Earth, in the constellation Sagittarius. It glows red due to ionisation of the hydrogen gas it contains by radiation from hot young stars within it. The small dark areas silhouetted against the nebula are Bok globules, balls of gas which are thought to be condensing into stars. Image taken by the Burrell Schmidt telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, USA.
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