Back to Volume
Paper: M20: Star Formation in a Young HII Region
Monograph: 5, Handbook of Star Forming Regions:
Volume II, The Southern Sky
Page: 509
Abstract: The Trifid Nebula (M20) has a remarkable optical appearance with a large, reddish nebula of gas ionized by an O7 star (HD 164492) and trisected by obscuring dust lanes, with a blue reflection nebula in the north. During the last two decades, M20 has generated considerable interest because of multi-wavelength identifications of sites of low- and high-mass star formation. M20 is a young HII region showing active, dynamic “pre-Orion” star formation, containing massive, young stars undergoing collapse and violent mass ejection, as well as a dense population of protostars and more developed pre-main sequence stars. Different stages of star formation have been detected at various wavelengths, as well as optical jets, mid- and far-infrared protostars, nearinfrared young stellar objects, Hα emission stars, X-ray sources, and OH masers. M20 is relatively close, at a distance of 1.67 kpc with a low line-of-sight extinction (Av=1.3 mag), and it is compact, with a small diameter of only 3.5 pc. M20 is an isolated HII region with a single O star, which provides an ideal place to investigate the onset of star birth and triggered star formation. We review the highlights of studies of star forming activities in the Trifid Nebula.
Back to Volume