The Trifid Nebula (M20)

Posted by CraigAndTammy
on Friday, September 16, 2016

M8, The Lagoon Nebula, is an emission nebula and HII region with an apparent magnitude of 6.0 and lies around 4,100 light years away in the constellation Sagittarius. It was discovered sometime before 1654 by Giovanni Hodierna. This nebula contains many dark, collapsing clouds of protostellar material, known as Bok globules. E.E. Barnard catalogued the most prominent ones as B88, B89, and B296. John Herschel named the center structure the Hourglass Nebula, but should not be confused with the nebula of the same name located in the constellation Musca. In 2006, within the Hourglass structure at the center, the first four Herbig-Haro objects were found, one of which is HH 870, providing the first conclusive evidence of active star formation by accrection.

This nebula is one of the only two naked eye star-forming nebulae that can be seen from mid-northern latitudes. When viewed with binoculars, it looks like an oval cloud-like patch with a definitive core. While color images make this nebula appear pink/red, our eye's poor color sensitivity at low light levels will show it as gray when viewing it through binoculars or a telescope.

Other designations: NGC 6523, Sharpless 25, RCW 146, and Gum 72

Telescope: Stellarvue SV80ST Apo triplet @ f/4.8
Accessories: Stellarvue 0.8x reducer/flattener; Dew control by Dew Buster; Aurora flat panel
Mount: Takahashi EM-200 Temma2
Camera: QSI683wsg-8 CCD @ -15C
Guiding: Starlight Xpress Lodestar
Filters: Astrodon Tru-Balance E-Series Gen II LRGB filters
Exposure: Lum: 9 x 10min. binned 1x1 ; RGB: 8 x 5min each, all binned 2x2
Acquisition: CCD Autopilot 5; The SkyX
Processing: PixInsight 1.8
Date(s): June 2-7, 2016
SQM reading averaged 21.32
Location: Pin Oak RV Campground, Natchez Trace State Park, Lexington, TN, USA

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