77ºF

Hubble celebrates 28 years with release of Nebula Lagoon photos

Nebula Lagoon images depict star birth from 4,000 light-years away

photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – 28 years after its launch, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is still capturing mind-blowing imagines across the universe.

Out new this week are two images of the Lagoon Nebula - a celestial body 4,000 light years from Earth. And by looking closely at the incredible new infrared image of the Lagoon Nebula showing the birth of a countless number of stars.

To celebrate its 28th anniversary in space the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope took this amazing and colourful image of the Lagoon Nebula. Using its infrared capabilities, the telescope was able to peer through the thick clouds of dust and gas. The most obvious difference between Hubble’s infrared and visible images of this region is the abundance of stars that fill the field of view in the infrared. Most of them are more distant, background stars located behind the nebula. However, some of them are young stars within the Lagoon Nebula itself.
To celebrate its 28th anniversary in space the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope took this amazing and colourful image of the Lagoon Nebula. Using its infrared capabilities, the telescope was able to peer through the thick clouds of dust and gas. The most obvious difference between Hubble’s infrared and visible images of this region is the abundance of stars that fill the field of view in the infrared. Most of them are more distant, background stars located behind the nebula. However, some of them are young stars within the Lagoon Nebula itself.

"The stars right at the middle of the infrared image are brand new stars. They actually very young. They are only 3 or 4 million years old. Whereas, the sun in contrast is several billion years old," said NASA astronomer Dr. Jeffery Hayes.

Lagoon Nebula visable image taken by Hubble.
Lagoon Nebula visable image taken by Hubble.

Astronomers observe them closely. Watching the stars grow gives them clues into how our own sun formed; hopefully giving us a better understanding of how planets like Earth came into existence.

"We have a vested interested in to some level because the sun is our star. And we want to know how it works," said Hayes.

The Lagoon Nebula can be seen with the naked eye. So, at night get away from street lights and look towards the southern horizon, and you may be able to see the star-birthing nebula from your backyard.