M20: The Trifid Nebula
Here is an image I captured of my favorite nebula in the night sky, Messier 20 the trifid nebula. It is called such because it contains all three main nebula types, absorption in the dark spires, emission in the glowing red H-alpha regions, and reflection in the bright blue dust. It also contains interesting signs of early star formation, deep inside the nebula you can see a sharp spire coming out from a nub in the h-alpha region, this is caused by a newborn star forcing gas outward from its polar regions as it is born. You may notice this image shows more detail in the deep reds than other images of this nebula may show, this is because this image uses narrowband data in the H-alpha line to emphasize the faint red regions in the outer parts of the nebula which are typically lost in the dense dust/stars in broadband images. By blending both narrow and broadband I'm able to show a larger extent of the nebula with deeper colors.
This image was captured at a resolution of 0.2" per pixel, which is extremely large and not typical.
Total exposure: 35 hours