Narrow band filters and a false-colour palette give these three nebulae a stunning appearance against the cosmic canvas of the central Milky Way.
All three are stellar nurseries about 5 000 lightyears or so away, toward the constellation Sagittarius.
In the 18th century, astronomer Charles Messier catalogued two of them; colourful M8 (above and right of centre) and compact M20 (at the left). The third, NGC 6559, is at bottom right. Over a hundred light-years across, M8 is also known as the Lagoon Nebula. Divided by obscuring dust lanes, M20’s popular moniker is the Trifid.
Image credit: Michael Mayda