The Trifid Nebula (M20, NGC 6514)

All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

Magnitude:  5.0
Size: 0.36 degrees
Distance: 2200 light years
RA: 18h 02m 26s
Dec: 22 degrees 58' 41"

The Trifid Nebula is one of the brightest emission nebulae in the sky.  It is so named for its characteristic tri-lobed appearance, being separated by large bands of dust that obstruct transmission of background light.  The emission nebula shines in the red, and it is surrounded by a beautiful blue glow from the nearby reflection nebula (also containing multiple lanes of dust).  In the lower left hand corner of the Trifid, there is a column of gas rising upwards, backlighted by radiation from newly-formed stars deep within the gas.  This is captured in the above photograph, with a more detailed view available from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Photographic Details:

Date:  July 30, 2003
Scope:  LX90 at f5, Lumicon OAG
Autoguider:  SBIG STV with e-finder
Camera:  Canon 10D
Filter:  IDAS LPS
Exposures:  4 x 8' each at ISO800
Conditions:  Temperature 75 degress F; average transparency; average to poor seeing; wind moderate.
Post-processing:  Raw conversion, adaptive dark frame subtraction, alignment, averaging, and background compensation done in ImagesPlus; levels and curves adjustment in Photoshop, with selective noise reduction of the red channel done in Pleiades SGBNR software.

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