WISE catches the Lagoon Nebula in the Center of the Action

Wise_wise2011-001_500

WISE_WISE2011-001 January 6th, 2011

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

This colorful picture is a mosaic of the Lagoon nebula taken by NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. Normally, you would expect a lagoon to be filled with water, but this nebula is composed of clouds of gas and dust in which new stars are forming. Also known as Messier 8, or simply M8, the Lagoon nebula is seen here as a large circular cloud in the center of the image, surrounded by innumerable stars.

This view is looking toward the center of the Milky Way, which is our home galaxy. The Solar System is located on one of the spiral arms, about halfway out from the center of the disk-shaped Milky Way Galaxy. When we view the Milky Way from Earth, we are looking into the disk of the Galaxy where stars are so numerous that they appear to us as a cloudy band of light stretching across the sky. The center of the Milky Way is located in the constellation Sagittarius, which is where the Lagoon nebula can be found. M8 is a favorite target for amateur astronomers because it can be easily seen with binoculars or a small telescope.

Astronomers have identified several different parts of the Lagoon nebula, including M8E, a young stellar object, and the star clusters NGC 6523 and NGC 6530 (sometimes the designation of NGC 6523 is used interchangeably with M8). At the center of the Lagoon nebula is the star Herschel 36. Distance measurements to this nebula vary widely, from 4,000 to 6,500 light-years away from Earth. Also included in this image but not classified as part of M8, is another cloud of warm dust and gas, located up and to the right of M8. This cloud is emitting infrared radiation.

All four of WISEs infrared detectors were used to take this image. The colors used represent specific wavelengths of infrared radiation. Blue and blue-green (cyan) represent 3.4- and 4.6-micron light, respectively. These wavelengths are mainly emitted by hot stars within the Milky Way. Green represents 12-micron light, which is emitted by the warm gas of the nebulae. Red represents the longest wavelenth, 22-micron light emitted by cooler dust within the nebulae.

Image Source: /image/WISE/WISE2011-001

Curator: Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, Berkeley, CA, USA

Image Use Policy: Pulic Domain

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Lagoon Nebula Messier 8 M8 NGC 6523
Subject - Milky Way
Nebula » Type » Star Formation
Nebula » Appearance » Emission

Distance

Universescale1
4,100 light years
Wise_wise2011-001_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 18h 3m 18.2s
DEC = -24° 13’ 52.0”
Orientation
North is up
Field of View
1.6 x 1.6 degrees
Constellation
Sagittarius

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_blue WISE Infrared (Near-IR) 3.4 µm
Arrow_left_cyan WISE Infrared (Near-IR) 4.6 µm
Arrow_left_green WISE Infrared (Mid-IR) 12.0 µm
Arrow_left_red WISE Infrared (Mid-IR) 22.0 µm
Spectrum_ir1
Arrow_top_blue
Arrow_top_cyan
Arrow_top_green
Arrow_top_red
Wise_wise2011-001_1280
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ID
WISE2011-001
Subject Category
B.4.1.2.   B.4.2.1.  
Subject Name
Lagoon Nebula, Messier 8, M8, NGC 6523
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
Lightyears
4,100
Redshift
-
Reference Url
/image/WISE/WISE2011-001
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
WISE, WISE, WISE, WISE
Instrument
Color Assignment
Blue, Cyan, Green, Red
Band
Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Near-IR, Near-IR, Mid-IR, Mid-IR
Central Wavelength
3400, 4600, 12000, 22000
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
270.825652, -24.231111
Reference Dimension
4095, 4095
Reference Pixel
2048, 2048
Scale
-3.81944439141100e-04, 3.81944439141100e-04
Rotation
0
Coordinate System Projection:
SIN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
URL
http://wise.astro.ucla.edu
Name
Email
outreach@ssl.berkeley.edu
Telephone
Address
7 Gauss Way
City
Berkeley
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
94720
Country
USA
Rights
Pulic Domain
Publisher
Publisher ID
WISE
Resource ID
Resource URL
/image/WISE/WISE2011-001
Related Resources
Metadata Date
2011-08-05
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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Universescalefull
4,100 light years