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Trifid Nebula

M20, NGC 6514

Proper NamesTrifid Nebula
Messier NumberM20
NGC/IC NumberNGC 6514
ConstellationSagittarius
Right Ascension18h 2m 42s
Declination-22° 58' 18"
Distancec.5,200 light years
c.1,600 parsecs
MagnitudeApparent: +6.3
Absolute: -4.7
Mean DiameterApparent: 29' x 27'
Actual: 44 light years
Optimum VisibilityJuly
NotesThe Trifid Nebula is primarily a star-forming region, within which dense clusters of thousands of stars are emerging from clouds of ionised hydrogen. Branching lanes of dark dust trace across this region, while another less active element of the nebula stretches off to the north, visible by the reflected light of the main nebula and its newborn stars.

In a densely nebulous region of the sky, in the direction of the Galaxy's core, is the Trifid, one of the most spectacular of all nebulae. It takes its name from three dark lanes of dust that break up an intricate pattern of red, purple and blue filaments illuminated by the intensely hot star HD 164492.

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