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M8 – Lagoon Nebula

Lagoon Nebula - Astrophotography

M8 – The Lagoon Nebula captured using a modified DSLR

M8 – The Lagoon Nebula

Photographed on: June 30, July 2, July 3, 2016

Total Exposure Time: 2 Hours, 15 Minutes (44 Frames @ ISO 1600)
Mount: Sky-Watcher HEQ-5 Pro
Camera: Canon Xsi (modified)
Telescope: Explore Scientific ED102 CF Triplet Apo

Guided with PHD Guiding
Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker
Processed in Adobe Photoshop CC

My Equipment for Deep Sky Astrophotography

I spent multiple nights in my backyard photographing this colorful and bright deep-sky object in June/July 2016.  From my latitude in Ontario, Canada, the Lagoon Nebula does not rise very high in the sky for imaging.  As a matter of fact, Messier 8 just barely cleared my south side fence when I captured this image.  The DSO’s in the Milky Way core are only available for photographing for a short window of time in the summer, so all of my attention resides there until fall.

This is only the second nebula I have photographed using my new Explore Scientific ED102 telescope.  The additional focal length helped bring out this nebula’s fine details and produced a version much more intense than my previous attempt last summer using the ED80.  You can find much more of my astrophotography images on my Flickr photostream, if you prefer to connect with me there!

Astrophotography Processing Tutorial: Lagoon Nebula

About the Lagoon Nebula

The Lagoon Nebula is a large, bright interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius. This emission nebula is also classified as an H II region. An OIII filter can be useful for imaging nebulae like M8, although I have not ventured into that territory myself as of yet!  The Lagoon Nebula is estimated to be between 4,000-6,000 light-years from the Earth. As you can see in my image above, it appears pink in long-exposure photographs, but is a pale grey to anyone looking through binoculars or a telescope.

View Messier 8 in a Telescope

Lagoon Nebula through a telescope

What the Lagoon Nebula looks like through a telescope

The Lagoon Nebula is a very interesting and visually impressive nebula. It is one of only two star-forming nebulae visible to the naked eye from mid-northern latitudes. (Like me in Ontario!) Using binoculars, it will appear as a distinct oval cloudlike patch with a defined glowing core. The open cluster of stars (NGC 6530) can be seen within the nebula.

M8 and M20 – A Close Nebula Pairing:

Lagoon and Trifid Nebula

The Lagoon and Trifid Nebula in Sagittarius

The image above was captured in August 2015 from my backyard in St. Catharines, Ontario.  The Lagoon and Trifid Nebulas appear very close together in the constellation Sagittarius, allowing for a spectacular photography opportunity with a wide field telescope.  The light-pollution is horrible where I live, but I was able to block out much of it with the IDAS light-pollution supression filter in my Canon Xsi.