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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Astronomy Picture of the Day

 

m20 gendler big 670x627 Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust
Credit & Copyright: Robert GendlerData Acquisition: Ryan Hannahoe

Explanation: 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 chaos. 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 coolgiant 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 3,000 years ago, although the exact distance remains unknown. Light takes about 50 years to cross M20.

 

Visit the NASA/JPL website to view more Astronomy Pictures of the Day

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