M8: Southern Cliff of the Lagoon Nebula

M8 Lagoon Southern Cliffs
M8 Lagoon Southern Cliffs
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Note this image has an aspect ratio of approximately 3:1

Very small black areas on corners of the original image have been altered with a filled star field.

APOD May 11, 2011 - Undulating bright ridges and dusty clouds cross this close-up of the nearby star forming region M8, also known as the Lagoon Nebula. A sharp, false-color composite of narrow band visible and broad band near-infrared data from the 8-meter Gemini South Telescope, the entire view spans about 20 light-years through a region of the nebula sometimes called the Southern Cliff. The highly detailed image explores the association of many newborn stars imbedded in the tips of the bright-rimmed clouds and Herbig-Haro objects. Abundant in star-forming regions, Herbig-Haro objects are produced as powerful jets emitted by young stars in the process of formation heat the surrounding clouds of gas and dust. The cosmic Lagoon is found some 5,000 light-years away toward constellation Sagittarius and the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. (Editor's Note: For location and scale, check out this image superimposing the close-up region shown in today's APOD on the larger Lagoon Nebula. Scale image is courtesy R. Barbá.)
Credit: Julia I. Arias and Rodolfo H. Barbá (Dept. Fisica, Univ. de La Serena), ICATE-CONICET, Gemini Observatory/AURA

Text: APOD May 11, 2011