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Kent Wood | all galleries >> Galleries >> Deep Space Objects > Where stars are born! Trifid Nebula (M20)
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11-NOV-2013

Where stars are born! Trifid Nebula (M20)

Ye brilliant orbs that deck the sky,
Shrouded in deepest mystery,
To thee my song I sing!
I long to know of what thou art,
Of this great universe a part,
I feel thy glory in my heart
While to the earth I cling!
Martha Levinia Hoffman


As I cling to this earth, I likewise, feel something of the glory that surrounds these brilliant orbs that deck the sky. Stars of all colors are spread before us in the image above. These colors are representative of the nuclear furnaces that burn within, and their respective temperatures. The red ones are the coolest at 3000 degrees kelvin, the white ones, like our sun, have a temperature of about 6000 degrees and finally, the brilliant blue giants burn at over 27,000 degrees kelvin. You will notice in the image above that most of the background stars are red or orange. This is because the majority of the stars in our Universe are smaller, cooler stars than our Sun. Our star, the Sun, lies somewhere towards the middle of this spectrum of temperature and color. It looks yellow to us, since we view it though an atmosphere that causes it to look that way to our eyes, but if we were away from earth, we would see it as white.

The other colors in the image above, are caused by ionizing radiation flowing from a group of stars at the center of this Nebula. It is appropriately called the Trifid Nebula, since it is split into thirds by the dark, nebulous tendrils that emanate from the center. New stars are forming within these cooler, darker, gas clouds. They are not visible to the naked eye, but infrared telescopes, such as the Spitzer, have discovered over 120 newborn stars lying within. Indeed, this is a place where new stars are born!


Image Acquisition:
Location: Starlodge Observatory, Ione, CA
Date: July 2013
Scope: Planewave CDK 12.5
Camera: SBIG ST11000
LHaRGB: 120:60:60:60

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