Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Picture of the Day #2

The Heart of the Trifid Nebula

Click for larger image

The Trifid Nebula, cataloged by astronomers as Messier 20 or NGC 6514, is a well-known region of star formation lying within our own Milky Way Galaxy. It is called the Trifid because the nebula is overlain by three bands of obscuring interstellar dust, giving it a trisected appearance as seen in small telescopes. The Trifid lies about 9,000 light-years (2,700 parsecs) from Earth, in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)