The images of far-off galaxies, cosmic clouds, nebulae, and clusters are often described as stunningly beautiful. These views of unreachable stars show what the characters of various science fiction novels might see or what the future humans might see if they ever learn to travel faster than light. They stir imagination and inspire astronomers and hobbyists alike.
The cloud I have chosen for this page is a part of the bright nebula M8, found in Sagittarius, which is as an active stellar nursery about 5,000 light-years away from us, in the direction of the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. This image was processed to remove stars and reveal the range of filaments of glowing hydrogen gas, dark dust clouds, and the bright, turbulent hourglass region near the image center. This color composite view spans about 50 light-years and was recorded near Sydney, Australia. This image was featured by NASA as the Astronomy Picture of the Day on July 15th, 2008. This is another great example of a piece of art that came straight out of a scientific observation.