This cluster of primary colors is the Trifid Nebula—nicknamed the "star factory"—which sits in the Sagittarius constellation. Submitted to National Geographic's My Shot photo community on August 1, the colorful composition is also one of National Geographic's favorite space pictures this week.
Trifid actually comprises three kinds of nebulae—great clouds of interstellar gas and dust.
The "reflection nebula" at left scatters blue light from nearby stars. To the right, infant stars jammed in the center of Trifid heat surrounding gas, whose high hydrogen content explains the reddish glow. Finally, the star factory is cross-crossed by slender, light-obscuring "dark nebulae."
About one-third of the sun showed signs of activity when the video was taken, according to the SDO team. Stretching from one active region to another, magnetic field lines cause the looping formations.
Star trails—the results of a long exposure and Earth's rotation—illuminate the night sky over Hungary's Szazhalombatta Archaeological Park in a picture recently submitted to the astronomy-education project The World at Night (TWAN).
Spectacular views of stars and other celestial phenomena are common from the park, which recreates prehistoric village life. The grassy mound at left is an Iron Age burial ground, while the house on the right is modeled after a Bronze Age dwelling.
The star system that caused the nebula to form, V664 Cas, is moving so rapidly that it creates a bow shock, the blue arc of displaced matter at upper right. The red swath behind is residue from gases in the system.
A school of fish clump into a ball to guard against predators. The 50 megapixel panorama was taken in October 2009 near the Galapagos Islands. It is made up of 19 individual photographs stitched together.
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