Trifid Nebula is a
cosmic study in contrasts.
Also known as M20, it lies about
light-years away toward the
A star forming region in the plane of our galaxy,
the Trifid illustrates three different types of
red emission nebulae dominated by
light emitted by hydrogen atoms,
blue reflection nebulae produced
by dust reflecting starlight, and
dark nebulae where
dense dust clouds appear in silhouette.
The bright red emission region, roughly separated into three
parts by obscuring dust lanes, lends the Trifid its
this sharp, colorful scene,
the red emission is also surrounded by the
the telltale blue haze of reflection nebulae.
Pillars and jets sculpted by
newborn stars, below and left of the emission nebula's center, appear
in Hubble Space Telescope close-up images
of the region.
The Trifid Nebula is about 40 light-years across.