This is a beautiful diffuse nebula which gets its name from its figure of a tropical island surrounded by a coral reef. There are plenty of stellar eggs, or "Globules", in this reddish nebula detected as small lumps of dark cloud. These vast clouds shine by excited hydrogen molecules receiving energy from stars inside.
The open star cluster (NGC6530) is actually loacted behind the Lagoon Nebula.
Here's what the NASA Hubble Space telscope sees when peering deep into this star forming nebula:
This image reveals a pair of one-half light-year long interstellar "twisters" -- eerie funnels and twisted-rope structures (upper left) -- in the heart of the Lagoon Nebula.
Here is a close up of the most active "Twister" region above.
The central hot star, O Herschel 36 (upper left), is the primary source of the ionizing radiation for the brightest region in the nebula, called the Hourglass. Other hot stars, also present in the nebula, are ionizing the extended optical nebulosity. The ionizing radiation induces photo-evaporation of the surfaces of the clouds (seen as a blue "mist" at the right of the image), and drives away violent stellar winds tearing into the cool clouds.
Analogous to the spectacular phenomena of Earth tornadoes, the large difference in temperature between the hot surface and cold interior of the clouds, combined with the pressure of starlight, may produce strong horizontal shear to twist the clouds into their tornado-like appearance.
This Hubble picture reveals a variety of small scale structures in the interstellar medium, small dark clouds called Bok globules, bow shocks around stars, ionized wisps, rings, knots and jets.
Use your mouse to explore my photograph (above-right) and see if you can find where this Hubble shot was taken. If you need help, move your mouse to the far upper left corner and the location will be identified.