The Lagoon Nebula ~ captured in all its psychedelic glory by the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii. An all-time favorite of sky-watchers on both hemispheres, the Lagoon Nebula (Messier 8, or M8) is among the most striking examples of a stellar nursery in our neighborhood of the Milky Way galaxy. Located in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius in the southern Milky Way and visible in telescopes and binoculars its fuzzy glow reveals the type of chaotic environment where new stars are born.
The dark object toward the image lower section is actually a pillar of smoky dust about 20 light years long. The curiously-shaped dust structure occurs in our neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud, in a star forming region very near the expansive Tarantula Nebula. The representative color image was taken in 2008 by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 in honor of Hubble's 100,000th trip around the Earth.