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Sean Liang

Location of Photo:

Siding Spring Observatory Australia (Remote Astronomy via iTelescope)

Date/Time of photo:

May 2022


PlaneWave Instruments CDK 20"; FLI-PL09000


Amidst the vast expanse of the Milky Way, in the constellation of Sagittarius, lies a cosmic nursery - The Trifid Nebula (also known as M20 or NGC 6514). It is a place where new stars are born and where the very building blocks of life may be taking shape. In its vicinity, hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, is compressed and heated to such extremes that it begins to glow, illuminating the surrounding environment in a dazzling display of red, blue, and pink hues. The Trifid Nebula is also a unique blend of three distinct astronomical phenomena. The emission nebula, characterized by the radiant glow of ionized gas, is responsible for the vibrant red hues. Meanwhile, the blue reflection nebula, comprised of scattered light from nearby stars, adds an ethereal shade of cerulean to this celestial tapestry. Finally, the dark nebula, with its obscuring clouds of dust and gas, creates the striking dark lanes that give the Trifid Nebula its name and signature appearance. At the heart of the Trifid Nebula lies a brilliant, massive star - a beacon of light and energy, whose powerful winds and radiation sculpt the surrounding gases, carving intricate patterns into the surrounding material. This star, only about 300,000 years old, is a veritable infant by cosmic standards. Yet, its immense power and influence help to shape the very environment in which it was born.