M8, The Lagoon Nebula


    M8 (NGC 6523), Magnitude 6.0 Emission Nebula, Size 90.0'x40.0', Constellation: Sagittarius.


Image Details:

M8 is bright, that's for sure, showing itself easily to binoculars from some pretty foul sites. And yet...and yet...unless you get out where it's dark, you miss the true beauty of this thing. From the city, you get maybe one small patch of nebulosity (the "hourglass" area), and the open cluster. From dark locales, however, in a widefield eyepiece, this thing seems to tower above you with almost frightening majesty.

Like the other nebulae in this are, the Lagoon is an area of vigorous star formation. The open cluster NGC 6530 is not actually "associated" with the nebula; it is merely along our line of sight to the Lagoon.

I was more than happy with the appearance of the dark lane in this shot, which shows something of its "wispy" character, something I try hard to detect visually, but which is usually just on the edge of perception...

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