Future Observatory Site First Light – M8 The Lagoon Nebula (7/17/2015)
The Lagoon Nebula (catalogued as Messier 8 or M8, and as NGC 6523) is a giant interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius. It is classified as an emission nebula and as a H II region.
The Lagoon Nebula was discovered by Giovanni Hodierna before 1654 and is one of only two star-forming nebulae faintly visible to the naked eye from mid-northern latitudes. Seen with binoculars, it appears as a distinct oval cloudlike patch with a definite core. In the foreground is the open cluster NGC 6530.
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Conditions were decent up until some clouds rolled in around 3:00am. There was a lot of lightning flashing to the north so I packed up a little early and headed back to the house. SQM measurements started around 20.2 but improved to 20.4 with a max of 20.5 around 1:00am.
The light pollution domes seen in the image are Oak Ridge to the south west (right side) and Clinton to the east/south east (left side).