The Binocular Sky


M20 (NGC 6514, the Trifid Nebula)

Constellation: Sgr
Object Type: Emission Nebula
RA:  18h 2m 18s
Dec:  -23° 1' 59"
Magnitude: 6.3
Recommended minimum aperture: 50mm

Charts for 100mm Binocular (2.5° aperture circle).   Click on a chart to print it.


First, find the Lagoon Nebula (M8, NGC 6523), which is just over 5°(2 fields) WNW of λ Sgr, the "peak" of the lid of the Sagittarius "teapot" asterism. Place the Lagoon at the S of the field and the Trifid should appear near the centre.

What You Should See:

In size, the Trifid (so-called, not because of any relation to John Wyndham’s sentient plants, but because dark dust lanes divide it into three parts) is small compared to M8 to the S, but it is otherwise an impressive object. Big binoculars will resolve a handful of stars against the bright nebulosity. If you are observing from a latitude where you can see it high up in a dark sky, you may detect a greenish tinge to the nebulosity.