In the Center of the Lagoon

lagooncenter_hstschmidt_960The Lagoon Nebula, also known as M8, lies about 5,000 light years distant toward the constellation of Sagittarius. Its center is a maelstrom of star formation. The two long funnel-shaped clouds near the center of the picture are each roughly half a light-year long. They were formed by extreme stellar winds and intense energetic starlight. An exceptionally bright nearby star, Herschel 36, dominates the area. Walls of dust hide and redden other hot young stars. This picture spans about 5 light years and combines several images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Image Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive / NASA / ESA
Processing & License: Judy Schmidt

The Lagoon Nebula

lagoon_nebulaThe Lagoon Nebula (aka Messier 8) is around 5000 light-years away in the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer). It’s a cloud of gas and dust 100 light-years across where new stars are forming. The VLT Survey Telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile has captured a richly detailed new image of the Lagoon Nebula. The image is a tiny part of one of eleven public surveys of the sky now in progress using ESO telescopes. Together these are providing a vast legacy of publicly available data for the global astronomical community.

A zoomable version of the image is here.

Image Credit: ESO