Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Trifid Nebula in Stars and Dust

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The Trifid Nebula in Stars and Dust

Unspeakable beauty and unimaginable bedlam can be found
together in the
Trifid Nebula.

Also known as M20,
this photogenic nebula is visible

with good binoculars towards the constellation of Sagittarius.

The energetic processes of
star formation create not only the colors but the

The red-glowing gas
results from high-energy starlight striking interstellar
hydrogen gas.

The dark dust
filaments that lace
M20 were created in the atmospheres of cool

giant stars and in the debris from
supernovae explosions.

Which bright young stars light up the blue
reflection nebula is still
being investigated.

The light from
M20 we see today left perhaps 3000 years ago,
although the exact distance remains unknown.

Light takes about 50 years to cross

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