Two veteran astrophotographers teamed up to capture this dazzling view of the turbulent star-forming region known as the Lagoon Nebula.
Terry Hancock of Fremont, Michigan and former NASA scientist Fred Herrmann of Huntsville, Ala., sent this beautiful photo to SPACE.com on Sept. 12. Herrmann used a Takahashi FSQ106 refractor with an SBIG ST11000 monochrome CCD camera and Hancock used a TMB92SS Refractor together with a QHY11 monochrome CCD camera to capture the photo. Both photographers used RGB + H-Alpha filters. The combined effort totals 14 hours of integration time.
The Lagoon Nebula, also known as Messier 8, is a hot bed of star birth. The intricate clouds glow in odd, colorful shapes as seen in this image because of high-energy radiation caused by gigantic hot stars within the nebula. M8 resides in the constellation Sagittarius (the Archer), roughly 4,000 to 5,000 light-years from Earth in the heart of the Milky Way galaxy. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).
The Trifid Nebula (M20) and M21 and NGC 6559 star clusters can also be seen in the image.
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 email@example.com.
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Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for Space.com. She began writing and producing content for Space.com in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.