Condensing dust and gas light up newborn stars in a picture of Messier 8, aka the Lagoon Nebula, released on April 19 by the European Southern Observatory.
About a hundred light-years across, the stellar nursery is among the few such nebulae visible to the naked eye. It boasts a number of huge, hot stars that are sculpting the clouds with their strong radiation.
With the current eruption taking place beneath the volcano's ice cap, geologists say the event could be both plinian—characterized by tall columns of ash driven by gases exploding from silicate-rich lava—and phreatic, caused by steam plumes created when hot lava contacts water.
The region, part of the Perseus arm of our Milky Way galaxy, appears mostly dark in visible light. But the gases and dust light up in infrared. The colors in this picture represent different infrared wavelengths coming from the dust cloud and the hot, young stars inside.