Central Lagoon Nebula (M 8)


clic for 36% size 1440 x 960 (340 kB)

clic here for 60% size 2400 x 1600 (846 kB)


clic for 36% size 1400 x 959 in H-alpha (261 kB)

clic here for 60% size 2400 x 1599 in H-alpha (707 kB)

About this Image

Embedded in interstellar dust the bright Lagoon Nebula (M 8) lies 5,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.
The hot, central star, O Herschel 36 is the primary source of the illuminating light for the brightest region in the nebula, called the Hourglass. The glare from this hot star is eroding the gas and dust clouds by heating the ionized gases within them. This activity drives away violent stellar winds that are tearing into the cooler clouds. The whole nebula spans approx. 100 light years.

This image has been taken as pure RGB image with some underlying H-alpha data.
North is to the right.

Checkout a wider version in mapped color here.

See a close-up of the central hourglass area by the HST and some background information: here.

Below you see an image in 150% size showing the hourglass area with a mouse-over effect blending in a downsized high resolution image insert from the Hubble Space Telescope. The insert helps to recognize the phantastic 3-dimensional structure of this area


Technical Details


20 " Keller cassegrain in corrected secondary focus at f/9

Mount Liebscher GEM
Camera SBIG STL-11000M at -20C, 8-pos STL filter wheel
Filters Baader RGB, H-alpha, (7 nm)
Date May 08, 2008.
Location IAS/Hakos Namibia
Sky Conditions dark skies, raw FWHM 1.5-1.8" temperature 10 C,
Exposure R:G:B = 20:20:20 minutes (10-minute sub-exposures); synthetic luminance used;
Ha: 3 x 30 min subexposures;
all 1x1.
Programs used Maxim DL 4.5;
Photoshop CS3