Trifid Nebula : 1997-2002

Photograph by

Robert Gendler

About this image

Clouds of gas and dust mingle in a star-forming region known as the Trifid Nebula. The three dark arms that give the nebula its name almost hide our view of the massive star at the centre, the light from which has carved out this spherical hollow in the surrounding material and make it glow. The nebula, catalogued by astronomers as Messier 20 or NGC 6514, spans about ten light years in this frame. It is located about 9000 light years away in the constellation Sagittarius. This image was assembled by the photographer from various components: luminance data from the 8.2 metre Subaru telescope in Hawai’i, detail from the orbiting 2.4 metre Hubble Space Telescope and colour data by amateur astronomer Martin Pugh. Robert Gendler Astronomy, Avon, Connecticut, USA