Lagoon Nebula

23 January 2011 Parting Clouds 色鮮やかな干潟星雲M8(中央左の赤い大きな円形)。NASAの広域赤外線探査衛星WISEから送られたデータを元に作成された合成画像(1月6日公開)。
The Lagoon Nebula, aka Messier 8―the large circular cloud at center above―bursting with color in a composite image made with data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, and released January 6. About a hundred light-years across, the Lagoon is among the few stellar nurseries visible to the naked eye. It boasts a number of huge, hot stars that are sculpting the clouds with their strong radiation.

9 May 2011 Swirling Lagoon 双眼鏡や小型望遠鏡では、いて座の中にぼんやりと浮かぶ淡いピンクのもやにしか見えない干潟星雲だが、このほど、チリにある強力なジェミニ南望遠鏡によって、この“育星場”の目を見張るような姿をとらえた。
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.

24 May 2011 NASAハッブル宇宙望遠鏡が撮影した干潟星雲のクローズアップ写真。ガスとちりでできた雲が複数の巨大な恒星により内側から照らし出され、光り輝いて見える。メシエ8として知られるこの干潟星雲は長径が140光年に及び、太陽と冥王星の距離(光速で約4時間)と比べてもその巨大さがわかる。