The Lagoon Nebula in mapped color

clic for 30% size 1168 x 779 (425 kB)

clic here for 50% size 1947 x 1298 (1100 kB)

About this Image

Embedded in interstellar dust the bright Lagoon Nebula (M8) 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 clouds by heating the Hydrogen-Oxygen-Sulfur gases in them. This activity drives away violent stellar winds that are tearing into the cool clouds. The whole nebula spans approx. 100 light years.
North is up.

This image has been taken with narrowband filters. According to the Hubble palette Sulphur-II is assigned to red, H-alpha to green and Oxygen-III to blue.

Below you see the center crop of the above image in 45/100% size showing the chaotic structures inside this nebula area.

Checkout a version in Ha-G-B color here.

Checkout a flash animation blending the normal image with the mapped one: here (press F11 for full screen).

clic for 100% size 1588 x 1148 (766 kB)

Technical Details


TEC-140 APO refractor with TEC flattener at f/7

Mount AP-400 GEM
Camera SBIG STL-11000M at -20C, internal filter wheel
Filters Astronomik H-alpha, S-II, O-III (15 nm)
Date May 30, 2006.
Location Hakos/Namibia
Sky Conditions mag 7, high transparency, temperature 15 C,
Exposure S-II:Ha:O-III = 120:90:90 minutes (30-minute sub-exposures),
all 1x1.
Processing Image aquisition, calibration and color synthesis in Maxim DL 4.11;
Photoshop: curves, mild unsharp mask, color balance, star color handling,