Ever wanted to zoom near that central bulge in the Milky Way in the Sagittarius constellation where stars are born? NASA has almost made it possible thanks to the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. As a kind of a 28th Hubble birthday gift for all of us, the space agency has posted astounding videos and photos of what’s known as the Lagoon Nebula.
The main video takes viewers from far away into the very heart of the massive, colorful nebula, what NASA calls a “raucous star nursery full of birth and destruction,” 4,000 light-years away from Earth.
At the Lagoon Nebula’s heart is a massive “young” star (the million-year-old Hershel 36), 200,000 times brighter and eight times hotter than Earth’s sun. It roils the region with ultraviolet radiation and winds carving out an exploding, undulating “fantasy landscape of ridges, cavities, and mountains of gas and dust,” gushes NASA.
The space agency has also released a video that dissolves to an infrared version that cuts through gas and dust to reveal a multitude of stars:
This is an imagined three-dimensional flight across the core of the Lagoon Nebula using images from Hubble:
Hubble was launched April 24, 1990, aboard the space shuttle Discovery and was a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency. Once a year the telescope takes a break from its assigned observations to take a detailed image of a particular spot of the cosmos.
The Hubble “has offered a new view of the universe and has reached and surpassed all expectations for a remarkable 28 years,” said NASA and the ESA. The telescope has “revolutionized almost every area of observational astronomy.”