The Lagoon Nebula (M8)

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Thursday, July 21, 2011

Photo by R. Jay GaBany

The magnificent Lagoon Nebula (M8) in Sagittarius is an example of an emission nebula and a star-forming region. Over millions of years, the persistent tug of gravity nudges interstellar material into vast clouds that eventually give rise to bright new suns. Our Sun and Earth formed under similar conditions in a long-since-vanished stellar nursery. This image stretches for more than 50 light-years; the nebula is located about 5,000 light-years away toward the constellation Sagittarius.

Data: 20-inch RC Optical Systems Ritchey-Chrétien reflector at f/8, Apogee Alta U16M CCD camera, LRGB image with exposures of 18, 9, 9, and 9 hours, respectively

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