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The Metamorphosis of Messier 8 Space Wallpaper

Like a Dali masterpiece, this image of Messier 8 from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is both intensely colourful and distinctly surreal.
Like a Dali masterpiece, this image of Messier 8 from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is both intensely colourful and distinctly surreal. (Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA)

Located in the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer), this stunning space wallpaper reveals a giant cloud of glowing interstellar gas is a stellar nursery that is also known as the Lagoon Nebula. Although the name definitely suits the beauty of this object, “lagoon” does suggest tranquillity and there is nothing placid about the high-energy radiation causing these intricate clouds to glow. The massive stars hiding within the heart of the nebula give off enormous amounts of ultraviolet radiation, ionising the gas and causing it to shine colourfully, as well as sculpting the surrounding nebula into strange shapes. The result is an object around four to five thousand light-years away which, on a clear night, is faintly visible to the naked eye.

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Tariq Malik
Editor-in-Chief

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter.