Lagoon Nebula (M8)

Lagoon Nebula is a rather large nebula (especially for my set up) about 5,000 light-years distant, in the direction of the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Hot stars in the open star cluster (bright blue stars in the center) power the nebular glow by process of ionization, complete with dust clouds that are not ionized (the black/gray structures). The structure that you see in the image is about 25 light years wide, and about 50% of the overall nebula.

M8 is about 5000 light years away, and roughly 130 light years across in the longer dimension. Composed primarily of hydrogen, much of it ionized (heated or energized) by radiation from the nearby superstar Herschel 36, M8 is known as an emission nebula. As such it also is a star-forming region, sometimes called a “stellar nursery.” On the bottom-right of the image below, there is an open star cluster, NGC 6530, of young, hot, blue stars probably only a few million years old.

Here is natural color image of this object. I took this image over 148 minutes (17 images of 5 minutes each & 7 images of each color of 3 minutes each). This image was taken at 75 times magnification.



The image below is different than others as I have used Hydrogen Alpha filter to get the luminance data (as the Moon was bright while these images were taken). I have used a total of 17 images of H-alpha @20 minutes and then added 5 images each of Red, Blue & Green (of 10 minutes each) to give it appropriate color. (total imaging time – almost 9 hours).M8

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