M8 (NGC 6523, the Lagoon Nebula)
Object Type: Emission Nebula
RA: 18h 3m 48s
Dec: -24° 22' 59"
Recommended minimum aperture: 50mm
Charts for 50mm Binocular (5° aperture circle). Click on a chart to print it.
M8 is just over 5° WNW of λ Sagittarii, the 'peak' of the lid of the Sagittarius 'teapot' asterism.
What You Should See:
The Lagoon Nebula is visible to the naked eye if it is high in a reasonably dark and transparent sky. Even small 'compact' binoculars, this stunning object will show a few stars of the associated open cluster (NGC 6530), and 10×50s will show more than half a dozen stars and some of the surrounding nebulosity (NGC 6523) that they illuminate, as well as the denser cluster of stars to the E of the main nebulosity. The nebulosity benefits greatly from averted vision.
To the N, and encompassed by the same 5° field of view, is the smaller and fainter M20 (NGC6514), the Trifid Nebula. This entire region of sky is worth scanning for other 'fuzzy blobs', of which there are many that are visible in binoculars of all sizes.
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