5,000 Year-Old Light from the Depths of the Lagoon Nebula

The Lagoon Nebula imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/ESA, STScI, Max Mutchler, and Jason Major.

Here’s the central “heart” of the Lagoon Nebula (Messier 8), a giant emission nebula and interstellar cloud inside our galaxy located about 5,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. This is a color-composite and mosaic of images captured by Hubble in visible-light wavelengths on Feb. 12, 2018.

The massive stars embedded within the nebula give off enormous amounts of ultraviolet radiation, ionizing the gas and causing it to shine.

This view above spans an area about ten light-years across. Our solar system out to the orbit of Pluto is only about 11 light-hours across.

Voyager 1, launched in 1977, is currently 20.6 light-hours from Earth.

Space is big.

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