M 8, the “Lagoon Nebula” – Sgr
The Lagoon Nebula, in Sagittarius, is one of the finest deep sky objects out there. It is an active star forming region and many suns are already born from this giant gas cloud. It was originally noted by Giovanni Battista Hodierna before 1654, later reported by other observers and cataloged in 1764 by Charles Messier.
It shows remarkable dark areas, called ‘globules’: they are collapsing protostellar clouds with diameters of about 10.000 Astronomical Unit (1 AU = 149 597 871 kilometers). The cloud is located at about 5.500 light years from our planet.
The image above covers just a portion of the nebula and in its bottom part also shows the open cluster NGC 6530, a family of very young stars associated with M 8. It comes from the average of 11, 120-seconds exposures remotely taken with the PlaneWave 17″ robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope.
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