Today's stunner from the Hubble Space Telescope shows clouds of gas and dust in the Lagoon Nebula, being sculpted by the intense radiation from hot young stars nearby. The nebula is so named because of a wide lagoon-shaped lane of dust at the heart of the star-forming region, 4,000 to 5,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius. The scene may look as placid as an earthly cloud at sunset on the first day of autumn ... but the Lagoon is actually a boiling sea of starbirth. Check out the European Space Agency's Hubble website for the full story, and don't miss this zoom-in video that shows you how to get from here to there. For more views of the cosmos, visit our Space Gallery.
NASA / ESA
A close-up shot of the Lagoon Nebula's center shows the delicate structures formed when powerful radiation from young stars interacts with the hydrogen cloud from which they sprang. The color-coded image was created from exposures taken with the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys. Light from glowing hydrogen is colored red, light from ionized nitrogen is green, and light through a yellow filter is colored blue.