Rony's ETX Site
M8 - The Lagoon Nebula
About the drawings
NGC 6523 in Sagittarius
Type: Open Cluster with Diffuse Nebula
5.200 l.y.
Mag: 4.6

Dim: 90' x 40'
One of the highlights of the Sagittarius Milky Way is the Lagoon Nebula. On a dark summer night, M8 can be seen with the unaided eye as a small bright patch in the Southern Milky Way. M8 is even brighter than the famous Orion Nebula. The view with a pair of binoculars is spectacular. M8 appears as an elongated glowing cloud of gas, divided by a ‘dark’ river, running from NE to SW. The eastern part of the nebula contains the open cluster NGC 6530. About a dozen stars can be counted with 15x70 bino’s. The western part of the nebula harbours only a few bright stars, together with a small bright patch of light, the Hourglass Nebula. This small patch looks like an out of focus star. It is the brightest feature of the Lagoon. Larger telescopes will reveal its true shape. But the Lagoon has more treasures to offer as time goes by. The patient observer will be rewarded with the view of fainter nebulous extensions and delicate curls of dark lanes. All together, the Lagoon Nebula is a very complex diffuse body at a distant of 5200 l-y.

The Lagoon is accompanied by a few other objects. At one and a half degree NNE of M8, there is M20, the Trifid Nebula. A40’ more to the north, the subtle glow of the open cluster M21 borders the edge of the field of view. At 1 SE of M8, I suspected the presence of globular cluster NGC 6544.


Site : Andratx, Mallorca, Spain ( 39 N )
Date : July 27, 2008
Time : around 23.00UT
Binoculars : TS 15x70 Marine
FOV: 4.4
Filter : none
Mount : Trico Machine Sky Window
Seeing : 3/5
Transp. : 4/5
Sky brightness : 21.08 magnitudes per square arc second near zenith (SQM reading).
Nelm : 6.5
Sketch Orientation : N up, W right.
Digital sketch made with Corel Paint Shop Pro X2, based on a raw pencil sketch.

(Note: if the sketch does look too dark on your monitor, try to darken the room.)
My Info:
Name: Rony De Laet
rodelaet@yahoo.com
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