Trifid Nebula Glows in Stunning Photo By Amateur Astronomer

Trifid Nebula Unnikrishnan
Astrophotographer Navaneeth Unnikrishnan captured the Trifid Nebula from Karnataka, India. (Image credit: Navaneeth Unnikrishnan)

This stunning image of the Trifid Nebula was taken from Karnataka, India.

Astrophotographer Navaneeth Unnikrishnan captured the star factory using a DSLR camera and tracking mounted telescopes.

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.  [What Do You See? Strange Nebula Shapes (Photos)]

The Trifid Nebula is located about 5,200 light-years from Earth. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers). The Trifid takes its name from the dark dust bands that trisect its glowing heart. Astronomer Charles Messier first observed the Trifid Nebula in June 1764. Observations made about 60 years later revealed the dividing bands. 

Unnikrishnan used a 11'' Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope, Canon 20D (Modified) with ISO 400 to combine 15 darks, 15 offset images.

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Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for She began writing and producing content for 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.