RUSSELL CROMAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUSSELL CROMAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lagoon and Trifid nebulae, optical image. The Lagoon nebula (M8) is at upper left, the Trifid nebula (M20) is at centre right. These are both huge starbirth regions, in which gas is coalescing into stars. Radiation from the hot young stars formed in the nebulae ionises the gas they contain, causing it to emit pink/red light. The right-hand portion of the Trifid nebula does not emit its own light, but instead reflects the light of nearby bright stars. Such reflection nebulae typically appear blue as blue light is scattered more effectively than redder wavelengths. Right and above of the Trifid nebula is the young star cluster M21. All these objects lie in the constellation Sagittarius.
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