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 28, 1997
Explanation: The Trifid nebula (M20) is a bright star forming region in Sagittarius, 5000 light years from Earth. In visible light, the interstellar gas cloud is crossed by dark, obscuring dust lanes which roughly divide the glowing emission nebula into three major parts. But the Trifid nebula's well known appearance is dramatically reversed in this infrared view. At longer infrared wavelengths the dust lanes are brighter, radiating more energy than the gas. This image was recorded by the liquid helium cooled Infrared Space Observatory (ISO).
Authors & editors:
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.