Discovered by Charles Messier in 1764, the Trifid consists of several different components. First there is the open cluster of stars that formed from the nebula. The ionizing radiation from those stars causes the gas to glow with a reddish light. Reflecting star light of those stars off the surrounding dust gives us a blueish reflection nebula. Also visible are the thicker bands of dust and gas that give the nebula its name, roughly dividing it into three sections. The nebula lies approximately 5000 light years away in the constellation of Sagittarius.