M8, NGC6523 - The Lagoon Nebula and open cluster NGC6530 - 4500 light years distant shining at magnituude 6.
The Lagoon Nebula is a summertime naked-eye diffuse nebula in our Milky Way Galaxy. The open cluster, NGC6530 was discovered by Flamsteed about 1680. The Lagoon Nebula itself was discovered by Le Gentil in 1747. Diffuse nebulae are clouds of interstellar matter, namely thin but widespread agglomerations of gas and dust. If they are large and massive enough they are frequently places of star formation, thus generating big associations or clusters of stars.
The cluster, NGC6530 is an extremely young open cluster which was formed from the material of the Lagoon Nebula, and it is situated well within this diffuse nebula. This cluster was apparently first observed by Hodierna before 1654, and independently found by Flamsteed in 1680, who cataloged it as his No. 2446.
On Saturday June 29, 2002, I observed this deep-sky wonder through ten different refractor telescopes. The Lagoon Nebula looks great naked eye, through binoculars and all telescopes. I hope these sketches encourage you to observe it for yourself!
|Lagoon sketches through small refractors to 85mm aperture.|
|Lagoon through medium aperture to 130mm.|
|Favorite Lagoon impressions.|
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