This is a photo of M8 taken on July 5, 1997. The Lagoon Nebula is about 2,500 light-years away from our solar system, and its dimensions are about 30 light-years by 65 light-years. The nebula can be seen with the naked eye on a very clear night under dark skies as a fuzzy patch near the main band of the Milky Way in Sagittarius. The Lagoon Nebula lies in the same region of the sky and at about the same distance from us as the Trifid Nebula. The discovery of the Lagoon Nebula is generally attributed to French astronomer Le Gentil in 1747, but it may have actually been seen first by British astronomer John Flamsteed in 1680. It was included in the first list published by Messier. This nebula got its name from a dark swath that crosses it on one side.
The photo was taken at prime focus with a Takahashi FS-128 refractor with a reducer at f5.9. The film used was Kodak Ektapress multispeed PJM color negative film, which was the subject of an article in the May 1997 issue of Astronomy magazine. This is a 30 minute guided exposure using an SBIG ST-4 autoguider mounted on a 78mm Takahashi guidescope.
M8 (NGC 6523).
RA: 18h 03m 39s Dec: -24d 22' 51"
July 5, 1997
Photo by Sid Leach
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