M8 - The Lagoon Nebula
Credits: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)
These Hubble Images provide two diverse views of the heart of the Lagoon Nebula. A visible-light image at left shows the billowing clouds of gas and curtains of dust from which new stars are forming. A near-infrared view at right penetrates these clouds to uncover stars hidden within and behind the nebula.
Credits: NASA, ESA and STScI
The Lagoon Nebula (catalogued as Messier 8 or M8, NGC 6523, Sharpless 25, RCW 146, and Gum 72) is a giant interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius. It is classified as an emission nebula and as an 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 eye from Long Itchington.
Facts about M8 by Keith Turnecliff
Seen with binoculars, it appears as a distinct oval cloudlike patch with a definite core. Within the nebula is the open cluster NGC 6530.The cluster is only about 2 million years old. The hot young stars in it are responsible for the nebula’s glow.
Messier 8 never rises very high above the horizon for observers north of the equator, but can be seen in the summer months, when Sagittarius is prominent on the southern horizon when observed from northern latitudes.