M8 - The Lagoon Nebula

Copyright 2009 Hap Griffin

The nebula gets its name from the fact that the main cloud is bi-sected by a dark region in its middle resembling a lagoon on an island.  The young open star cluster NGC 6530, here seen to the left of the "lagoon" was formed from the gas and dust comprising the nebula.  The numerous dark knots in the nebula are areas where the hydrogen cloud is collapsing on itself in the process of forming new stars.

M8 lies at a distance of approximately 5200 light-years. 

Date/Location:    August 23, 2009     Griffin/Hunter Observatory    Bethune, SC
Camera: QSI 583wsg
Filters: Astrodon E Series Generation 2 LRGB
CCD Temperature: -10 C
Instrument:    Takahashi FSQ-106N 
Focal Ratio:   f/5
Mount: AP-1200
Guiding:    Auto through 10" Orion Newtonian w/ SBIG ST-402
Conditions:    Typical summer haze
Weather:    70 F, still
Exposure: Luminance (17 x 3 min), RGB (5 x 3 min each)
Capture: ImagesPlus v3.8 beta Camera Control
Processing:    Frame calibrations, alignment, Digital Development, LRGB component stacking with ImagesPlus v3.75.  LRGB compositing and finishing in Photoshop CS4.