M8 M20 Lagoon and Trifid nebula

Field centered on R.A. 18h 05' & Dec. -24° 00'

These three bright nebulae are often featured in telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of the central Milky Way. In fact, 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged two of them; M8, the nebula below and right of center, and colorful M20 at the upper right. The third, NGC 6559, is left of M8, separated from the the larger nebula by a dark dust lane. All three are stellar nurseries about five thousand light-years or so distant. The expansive M8, over a hundred light-years across, is also known as the Lagoon Nebula while M20's popular moniker is the Trifid. Glowing hydrogen gas creates the dominant red color of the emission nebulae, with contrasting blue hues, most striking in the Trifid, due to dust reflected starlight. Click here for a larger version framed in a "poster style".

This is the result of a mosaic of two RGB frames taken when the objects were only between 20 to 13 degrees from the local horizon! Furthermore, because of the high relative humidity, it was impossible to cool down the camera much below the ambient T because the formation of dew on the camera window. Therefore all subframes were taken at a very high chip temperature of + 10C! The red channel also was enhanced using information from this Ha image taken at lower resolution.


Apo TEC140 (140/f7) + AP MACH1 FLI Microline 16803, binning 1x1, T=+10°C Mosaic of two images each R (20m) G (20m) B (20m) Astrodon RGB filter set

Isola del Giglio, Grosseto, Italy





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