The Lagoon Nebula (Image Credit: Fred Vanderhaven)

This is yet is another breathtaking image of the Lagoon Nebula: a rich field of stars located approximately 5,000 light-years from Earth in the Sagittarius constellation.

This cosmic area is only surpassed in beauty by size, with the gas and dust clouds—which continue to collapse and bring new stars to life—expanding about 100 light-years across (and 50 wide). As the stars take shape, they become supercharged, which has an energizing effect on the gas, and a sculpting effect on the dust, creating the amazing structure you see here.

The largest stars in the stellar nursery are responsible for illuminating the brightest part of the nebula, which is near the center of the image. The funnel-esque structure has its own name—you may know it as the Hourglass nebula.

This particular image just shows about half the nebula, and was taken near Sydney, Australia by Fred Vanderhaven.

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