M 20, the “Trifid Nebula” – Sgr
Undoubtedly among the most beautiful diffuse nebulae in the sky, Messier 20 is a remarkable deep sky object, with a breathtaking color combination, ranging from blue to deep red and purple: this is because this gem combines both an emission and reflection nebula.
A young star cluster close to the center of the nebula is responsible of the red emission and it is surrounded by a reflecting area, with the contrasting, elegant blue hue.
Distance to this object is relatively uncertain and a mean of the modern estimates puts Messier 20 at about 5.000 light years.
The image above is a LRGB combination: the luminance is the average of 15, 120-seconds unfiltered exposures, while the RGB component comes from 3×120-seconds exposure in each channel. All the images were remotely taken with the PlaneWave 17″ robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope.
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