Stunning Nebulas of Sagittarius Captured by Amateur Astronomer (Photo)
Astrophotographer Terry Hancock took this image of M8 and M20, the Lagoon and Trifid Nebulas, on July 6 from Fremont, Michigan.
Credit: Terry Hancock | Down Under Observatory

This stunning image of two nebulas in the constellation Sagittarius was taken in one night by stargazer Terry Hancock.

Hancock took the image of M8 and M20, the Lagoon and Trifid Nebulas, on July 6 from Fremont, Michigan. He was able to capture the image just in time.

"After a spell of bad weather for the past month, finally last weekend we had a little bit of clear sky at least before more storms rolled in," Hancock told to Space.com in an email. [Amazing Night Sky Photos by Stargazers (August 2014)]

Though they look serene and silent from our vantage on Earth, stars are actually roiling balls of violent plasma. Test your stellar smarts with this quiz.
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Star Quiz: Test Your Stellar Smarts
Though they look serene and silent from our vantage on Earth, stars are actually roiling balls of violent plasma. Test your stellar smarts with this quiz.
Open Star Cluster Messier 50
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Located about 5,000 light-years from Earth, the Lagoon Nebula one of two star-forming regions visible to the unaided eye from the Northern Hemisphere. It is about 110 light-years across and is also known as Messier 8 or NGC 6523. The Trifid Nebula (Messier 20 or NGC 6514) is a combination of emission nebula (the red area) and reflection nebula (the blue area) and dark nebula. Also visible are the star forming regions of NGC 6559, IC 1274 and IC 1275.

Hancock used a QHY11S monochrome CCD cooled to minus 20 Celsius and a Takahashi E-180 F2.8 Astrograph on a Paramount GT-1100S German Equatorial Mount to take the image. Multiple exposures are made to collect enough light for an image that would otherwise not be evident to the eye.

To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by Space.com readers, visit our astrophotography archive.

Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

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