Image of the Day: Violent Space Storms of the Lagoon Nebula

LagoonNebulaHeartNASA (1)

The Lagoon Nebula (NGC 6523) is a giant interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius, classified as an emission nebula with a number of Bok globules – dark, collapsing clouds of protostellar material and one-half light-year long interstellar "twisters" — eerie funnels and tornado-like structures– in the heart of the object  caused by a hot O-type star that pours out ultraviolet light, heating and ionizing gases on the nebula's surface.  

At its center the nebula contains a structure known as the "Hourglass Nebula" (not to be confused with the Hourglass Nebula in the constellation of Musca).  In 2006 the first four Herbig-Haro objects were detected within the Hourglass, also including HH 870. 

Herbig–Haro objects (shown below) ubiquitous in star-forming regions, are small patches of nebulosity often seen around a single star, formed when gas ejected by young stars collides with clouds of gas and dust nearby at speeds of several hundred kilometers per second. HH objects are transient phenomena, lasting only a few thousand years at most, evolving visibly over short timescales as they move rapidly away from their parent star into the gas clouds in interstellar space.




Image credits: NASA/Hubble


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