M8 (Lagoon Nebula)
Acquired by Jim Misti and Processed by Steve Cannistra

All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

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Please click here for the Ha image.

Magnitude:  5.0
Size:  0.57 degrees
Distance: 6500 light years
RA: 18h 04m 09s
Dec: 24 degrees 22' 00"

The Lagoon was first discovered because of the conspicuous cluster of newly formed stars just to the left of center (NGC 6530).  Like many emission nebulae, the Lagoon is a stellar nursery comprised mostly of hydrogen gas that emits light in the hydrogen alpha wavelength (656.3 nm), after excitation by radiation from nearby, young stars.  The very dark regions represent gas that is comprised mostly of dust that has not been excited to emit red light, and is too dense to reflect blue light.  These dark regions represent protostellar material that will eventually condense to form new stars through hydrogen fusion.

Photographic Details:

The raw data for this image were acquired by Jim Misti, who graciously provided this to astrophotographers for subsequent processing.  I used standard techniques such as DDP, curves, and a bit of LR deconvolution.   The L channel was blended with the Ha to restore star size.  RGB was combined with the Ha image using my Luminance Corrected LRGB technique.

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