Wade into the Lagoon Nebula: This Week in Astronomy with Dave Eicher 

The Lagoon Nebula is a classic object that looks great in binoculars or a telescope.
By | Published: June 26, 2023 | Last updated on July 24, 2023

Hi folks, tune in every week of 2023 for the best in astronomy from Astronomy Editor Dave Eicher, brought to you by Celestron. Dave’s weekly video series will cover all the latest sky events, scientific results, overviews of cosmic mysteries, and more! 

This week, we’re talking about the Lagoon Nebula, also cataloged as Messier 8 (M8) — one of the great deep-sky objects of the summer Milky Way. About 4,100 light-years distant in Sagittarius, it lies roughly in the direction of the center of the galaxy.

The object was discovered in in 1654 by Italian astronomer Giovanni Battista Hodierna. However, it’s likely that what caught his eye was not the hot glowing gas that we can see easily in modern instruments, but the open cluster of stars, NGC 6530.

The nebula is filled with ribbons of star-forming dust, including one particularly broad band that cuts through the nebula, giving it the appearance of its namesake — a lagoon cut off from a larger body of water. This makes it an enticing target for professional as well as amateur astronomers: Recently, the Hubble Space Telescope cast its eye on the Lagoon in search of proplyds, nascent planetary systems in the first stages of formation.

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