From the July 2007 issue

Stephen James O’Meara’s secret sky: The curious history of M20 and M21

July 2007: The Trifid Nebula, an observing favorite, remains a mystery because no one is sure who discovered it.
By | Published: July 1, 2007 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Anyone familiar with the original list of nebulae and clusters compiled by 18th-century French comet-hunter Charles Messier has come to associate his 20th catalog entry with the Trifid Nebula (M20). The Trifid is a summer favorite among amateur astronomers, who enjoy seeking out the three main rifts of obscuring dust, which spread from the Trifid’s core like roots from a tree.