Where In The Universe Challenge, Thanksgiving Edition

Article written: 26 Nov , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

Here’s this week’s image for the WITU Challenge, to test your visual knowledge of the cosmos. You know what to do: take a look at this image and see if you can determine where in the universe this image is from; give yourself extra points if you can name the instrument responsible for the image. Weโ€™ll provide the image today, but wonโ€™t reveal the answer until tomorrow. This gives you a chance to mull over the image and provide your answer/guess in the comment section. Please, no links or extensive explanations of what you think this is โ€” give everyone the chance to guess. Best wishes to everyone celebrating Thanksgiving, no matter where you are!

UPDATE: The answer is now posted below.

This is the Trifid Nebula, as seen by the Gemini Telescope. This observation was done as a result of an essay contest for elementary school children, and the winner, Ingrid Braul from British Columbia, Canada, wrote: “I think the Trifid Nebula is the most beautiful thing in the whole universe. It’s really pretty with all the colours in it. When I look at it closely, I think of it as a majestic cloud of creation. It makes me think of the beginning of time, and how our solar system started.”

She sure got that right! Read more about the essay contest and see Ingrid’s entire essay here.

16 Responses

  1. Mr.No.Scope says

    This is obviously a picture of a Klingon Warbird as it is de-cloaking. You can clearly see the downward sloping wings and the glow from it’s forward weapons array as it prepares to attack the Enterprise just before Capt Picard blasts it from space.

    Either that or the Trifid nebula.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there.

  2. vagueofgodalming says

    No, the APOD one is Romulan.

  3. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    This looks like the Triffid Nebula. What appears to be false color imaging suggests this is from the Spitzer.


  4. scibuff says

    M20 (Triffid Nebula) by Gemini North telescope at the Gemini Observatory

  5. Marc Tiedemann says

    It’s definitely the Triffid Nebula…

  6. Jorge says

    Wait, I’ve seen this place, but I never know the names of the nebulas… Triffid?

    No idea on the photographer. Somehow it doesn’t seem to be the Hubble. Not crisp enough.

  7. Jon Hanford says

    Looks like a ground-based image of M 20 (Trifid Nebula). I’ll guess that this was taken with an 8 meter Gemini scope (N or S?) in visible and near-infrared wavelengths.

  8. Spaceriuss says

    Triffid Nebula… a picture may be seen on the wall in Picard’s cabin ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. ROCA says

    Glorious Trifid Nebula plus pillar jets, below.

  10. ackerman says

    Easy one! Clearly the Trifid Nebula. False color image taken with the Gemini North telescope. I had to Google “trifid nebula false color image” to find the original. Is that cheating?

  11. DrFlimmer says

    Maybe I am wrong, but this looks strangely like today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. That is M78 in Orion. But it could also be that this is coincidence and they just look similar!

  12. Astrofiend says

    That is most certainly the heart of the Triffid. I particularly like the jets emanating from the dust cloud at bottom left. These are Herbig-Haro objects – new stars in the process of formation.

  13. krishna says

    Its Trifid M20, taken with the Gemini North telescope. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. vino says

    Wow…What a beauty!! The centre of trifid from Gemini North in Hawaii!!!

  15. Ishan says

    Trifid by Gemini

  16. polarisdotca says

    So glad you included the story about the girl who won the contest. I helped organize it. That’s me on stage in the Gemini photo during the prize presentation. We video-linked from the Planetarium in Vancouver to Gemini North in Vancouver. Every time I see this gorgeous Trifid picture, I remember that it’s because of a super-keen high school student.

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