Space Pictures This Week: Vibrant Lagoon, Mock Mars


Swirling Lagoon

Image courtesy Universidad de La Serena and ICATE-CONICET

Seen through binoculars or small telescopes, the Lagoon nebula is a ghostly blur tinged with pink tucked inside the constellation Sagittarius. But with the powerful gaze of the Gemini South telescope in Chile, astronomers have created a dramatic new view of this stellar nursery.

Released this week, the false-color picture shows the nebula in vibrant hues thanks to a combination of data from several light filters. The dense cloud of dust and gas is a birthplace for medium- and low-mass stars, most of which are embedded in thick cocoons of material. The bluish points of light in the frame are young stars in the background.

Published May 6, 2011


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