Where In The Universe Challenge, Thanksgiving Edition

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 Replies to “Where In The Universe Challenge, Thanksgiving Edition”

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


  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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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