ECKHARD SLAWIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ECKHARD SLAWIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lagoon and Trifid nebulae, optical image. The Lagoon nebula (M8) is at lower centre, the Trifid nebula (M20) is at upper right. These are both huge dust and gas clouds in which young stars form. Radiation from the hot stars in the nebulae ionises the hydrogen gas in the nebulae, causing it to emit pink/red light. The upper portion of the Trifid nebula does not emit its own light, but instead reflects the light of nearby bright stars. It appears blue because the blue starlight is scattered more than red light. The white region at upper centre is the young star cluster M21. All these objects lie in the constellation Sagittarius.
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