• Constellation: Sagittarius
  • Right Ascension: 18h 03m 37s
  • Declination: −24° 23′ 12″
  • Distance: 4,100 ly

Messier 8 is a large emission nebula located in Sagittarius. Intense ultraviolet radiation emitted from hot young stars in the nebula cause the atomic hydrogen to glow a pinkish red. A star forming region, the nebula contains the open cluster NGC 6530 along with several Bok globules, which are dark collapsing areas of the nebula, along with 4 Herbig-Haro objects which are patches of nebulosity associated with newly born stars. The entire nebula spans a radius of 55 ly x 20 ly. It is one of only two nebula in the northern hemisphere barely visible as a patch of nebulosity. The other being the Orion Nebula.

Image is enhanced by using a narrow band hydrogen-alpha filter that only allows light through from the ionized hydrogen, increasing the detail visibly.

Example of an Ha image of the nebula.

  • Telescope: Explore Scientific 127 Refractor
  • Camera: ZWO 2600 MM