July 11, 2011 - Trifid Triple Treat
Trifid Triple Treat The massive star factory known as the Trifid Nebula, which gets its name from the dark dust bands that trisect its glowing heart, is a rare combination of three nebulae types. The bluish patch to the upper left is a reflection nebula, where dusty gas scatters the light from nearby Trifid-born stars. Below, the pink-reddish area is typical of an emission nebula, caused by the gas at the Trifid’s core being heated by hundreds of scorching young stars until it glows in the red light typical of hydrogen. The gas and dust that crisscross the Trifid Nebula make up the third kind of nebula in this cosmic cloud, known as dark nebulae because of their light-obscuring effects. The field of view of the image, taken at the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla site in northern Chile, is half the width of the full Moon.
Image credit: European Southern Observatory
July 11-17, 2011
Holidays - Sky Events - Space History
Full Moon 2:40 AM ET