The Lagoon Nebula, M8, NGC 6523
AAO image reference UKS 5.    « Previous || Next »

The Lagoon Nebula, M8, NGC 6523
Top left is NE. Image width is about 72 arc min.
Image and text © 1979-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory
Photograph from UK Schmidt plates by David Malin.

The irregular distribution of light in this beautiful part of the sky is due mainly to clouds of dust that dim the light of vast clouds of stars that make Sagittarius one of the brightest parts of the Milky Way. The Lagoon nebula is an illuminated part of such a dark ('molecular') cloud and it reveals the dust as dark lanes and globules silhouetted against the luminous gas. Within the nebula is the scattered young star cluster NGC 6530, recently formed from this material, though the centre of star-forming activity has now shifted westwards from the cluster to the brightest part of the nebula, around the tiny Hourglass Nebula. The Lagoon nebula is clearly visible to the unaided eye on southern winter nights, in a dark part of the Milky Way close to the great star clouds in Sagittarius.

Related images
UKS 26.   The field of M8 and M20 in Sagittarius
UKS 26a. The field of M8 and M20 in Sagittarius (wide field)
AAT 31.    The Hourglass nebula in M8
AAT 31a.  The Hourglass nebula and NGC 6530 cluster in M8
Constellation of Sagittarius (external site)

For details of object position and photographic exposure, search technical table by UKS reference number.

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Updated by David Malin, 2010, July 25