The Lagoon nebula, Messier 8

The Lagoon nebula (Messier 8, NGC 6523) contains a large open cluster, NGC 6523. The Lagoon nebula is about 4800 light years distant and so named because of the dusty 'lagoon' near the centre of the nebula in this picture. This feature is better seen on our colour picture.

On this black and white photograph made with an unsharp mask this feature is seen just to the left (east) of the brightest part of the image wherein lies the tiny Hourglass nebula. Across the face of the emission region are many small dark 'Bok globules'. The print from which this picture was made was published in Mercury magazine.
Original plate taken with the UK Schmidt Telescope