The Lagoon Nebula is one of the more famous objects in the sky. It’s a big, bright gas cloud easily spotted using binoculars in the constellation of Sagittarius, and through a telescope reveals quite a bit of detail. I’ve seen it literally hundreds of times, observing in the summer when Sagittarius is up. You can even see it in a picture [I took a few weeks ago] (if you’re really curious, scroll to the bottom, click the pic of Sagittarius, and then look off to the right of center; the compact fuzzy pink thing is the Lagoon).
So when you take something big, bright, and close, and point Hubble at it, [the detail is pretty spectacular]:
As you might expect, I could go on and on about what you’re seeing here: dense clouds of gas and dust, star forming regions, shock waves, and the like. Instead, though, I’ll direct you to the four bumps, like a wave going across the nebula from left to right and downsloping a bit. Take a look at that third one from the left. Does it look familiar…?
[Punch line after the jump... don't wanna rue-een it...]
Oh _yeah!_ Giggity giggity lagoon!
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about because you are even older than I am, then just assume it’s really Bob Hope. Or Nixon. Or given that eyebrow ridge, Neanderthal Nixon.
I’ll stick with Quagmire, though. But not too close. Because, y’know. Ewww.
: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/09/12/and-i-saw-a-star-rising-in-the-west/ : http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_1782.html : http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/files/2010/10/hst_lagoon1.jpg (hst_lagoon) : http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/488711main_LagoonClose_hst_full.jpg : http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/files/2010/10/lagoon_quagmire.jpg (lagoon_quagmire) : http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~a/ooNb9Pprutj31aoDjKK9n1FeZlE/0/di : http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~a/ooNb9Pprutj31aoDjKK9n1FeZlE/0/da : http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~a/ooNb9Pprutj31aoDjKK9n1FeZlE/1/di : http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~a/ooNb9Pprutj31aoDjKK9n1FeZlE/1/da : http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/BadAstronomyBlog/~4/l9Pwuq_1DUQ : http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/DiscoverBlogs/~4/QWtQY826Uds