The European Southern Observatory has released a new image of the Lagoon Nebula that twinkles with hot new stars and stellar clusters that are busy forming in the plumes of gas and dust within the nebula's midst.
This picturesque nebula is 100 light years across and lies 5,000 light years from Earth, in the constellation Sagittarius. ESO has photographed the nebula before, as you can see in the gallery above, but this new image is especially frothy, rich and detailed.
If you want to take a closer look, the ESO has posted a zoomable version that allows you to dive deeper into the nebula.
The image was taken by the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) in Chile, a powerful visible light telescope that is imaging wide stretches of the night sky. The Lagoon Nebula image above was included in a much larger imaging survey called VHPAS+ that is peering deep into our universe.
Scientists hope the survey will answer questions about the structure of the Milky Way, the nature of dark matter, and that it will find the brilliant quasars sending light to us from the early universe.
And of course, it will capture beautiful space images along the way.
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