The majestic Lagoon Nebula is filled with hot gas and homes many young stars. Spanning 100 light years across while lying only about 5000 light years distant, the Lagoon Nebula is so big and bright that it can be seen without a telescope toward the constellation of the Archer (Sagittarius). Many bright stars are visible from NGC 6530, an open cluster that formed in the nebula only several million years ago. The greater nebula, also known as M8 and NGC 6523, is named “Lagoon” for the band of dust seen to the right of the open cluster’s center. The featured image was taken in the light emitted by Hydrogen (shown in brown), Sulfur (red), and Oxygen (blue) and displayed in enhanced color. The featured picture is a newly processed panorama of M8, capturing twice the diameter of the Full Moon. Star formation continues in the Lagoon Nebula as witnessed by the many globules that exist there.
SIRIUS is the brightest star in the night sky. It is found in the constellation Canis Major and is located 8.6 light years from Earth. It is part of a star system consisting of Sirius A and Sirius B. The Sirius star system is one of Earth’s near neighbours and is sometimes referred to as the “Dog Star”.
Sirius A is a main sequence star and Sirius B is a white dwarf. The distance separating the two stars is between 8.2 to 31.5 Astronomical Units (AU). The distance between the Sun and the Earth is 1 AU.
Sirius is about twice as massive as the Sun and is about 25 times more luminous. The system started off as two bright blue stars. The brighter of the two (Sirius B), consumed its resources faster, became a red giant, and shed it’s outer layers to become the current white dwarf that it is today.
Sirius is gradually moving towards the Solar System so over time it’ll slightly increase in brightness (over the next 60 000 years). Once it reaches a certain distance from the Solar System, it’ll begin to move away, becoming fainter. It will remain the brightest star in the sky for the next 210 000 years.
Got any other questions/facts about Sirius? Send me a message and we can talk about it!
TOMORROW marks the final week, WEEK 4 of Space Month! Can anyone guess what the last theme will be?
The North America and Pelican Nebulas : Here lie familiar shapes in unfamiliar locations. On the left is an emission nebula cataloged as NGC 7000, famous partly because it resembles our fair planet’s continent of North America. The emission region to the right of the North America Nebula is IC 5070, also known for its suggestive outlines as the Pelican Nebula. Separated by a dark cloud of obscuring dust, the two bright nebulae are about 1,500 light-years away. At that distance, the 4 degree wide field of view spans 100 light-years. This spectacular cosmic portrait combines narrow band images to highlight bright ionization fronts with fine details of dark, dusty forms in silhouette. Emission from atomic hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen is captured in the narrow band image in scientifically assigned colors. These nebulae can be seen with binoculars from a dark location. via NASA