Stunning images of nebulae are a poster staple in the space-enthusiast’s home.
The latest image to add to your collection, shown here in all its glory, was taken using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and shows the absolute center of the Lagoon Nebula in the constellation Sagittarius.
NASA, ESA, J. Trauger/Jet Propulson Laboratory.
Also known as Messier 8, the nebula has gas glowing in the shadow of the lagoon-shaped expanse of dark dust.
Marrying images taken in optical and infrared ranges, this new portrait allows for more complex structures within the nebula to be visible. For example, the shining star bursting through the clouds at the top of the image is Herschel 36. This star is the Lagoon Nebula’s main source of ionizing radiation, and it affects the shape of the nebula by stripping away its material.
Though given a languid name, the Lagoon Nebula is a stormy nebula with strong winds from burning stars, rushing waves of hazy gas, and the active formation of new stars.