Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

August 21, 1996
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A Close-Up of the Lagoon's Hourglass
Credit: J. Trauger (JPL /Caltech), HST, STSci, NASA

Explanation: In the central part of the Lagoon Nebula lies the above pictured Hourglass Nebula. In this region of recent star formation, obscuring dark lanes of dust permeate the red-glowing hydrogen gas. Blocking some of the gas cloud from our view, they chance to create a glowing shape that appears from our vantage point like an hourglass. In the upper right of this picture from the Hubble Space Telescope is a bright young blue star from the open cluster NGC 6530 - visible below center in yesterday's APOD. A recent study of the Lagoon Nebula (M8), has shown that this emission nebula houses large magnetic fields and unusually large dust particles.

Tomorrow's picture: Arp 230: Two Spirals in One?

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
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