JOHN SANFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN SANFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lagoon and Trifid nebulae. The Lagoon nebula (M8, centre) is a large starbirth region, where gases are condensing into stars. The Trifid nebula (M20, upper centre) is a combined emission (pink) and reflection (blue) nebula. Emission nebulae glow pink as the hydrogen gas that they contain is ionised by radiation from the hot young stars that have formed within them. Reflection nebulae are regions of gas and dust that glow by reflecting the light from nearby stars. Both nebulae lie around 5200 light years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius.
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