The Lagoon Nebula

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Obj Type
Date Taken:
SSRO Published
Messier 8
CTIO, Chile

The Lagoon Nebula, M8 or NGC 6523, is one of the showpiece objects of the summer sky in the northern hemisphere. Unfortunately, the Lagoon never rises very high from most locations north of the equator, so we were very excited to finally point our southern scope on this object.  Over several nights we collected 20 good hours of data with the seeing usually around 0.5" and occasionally in the mid 0.30".

Your first impression may be that the Lagoon looks too blue, since most renditions of this nebula are decidedly reddish in character. However, we feel that the object's altitude during much of the imaging -- as high as 80 degrees -- minimized the normal tendency for blue extinction that is commonly experienced when imaging lower objects.  The numerous Bok Globules associated with M8 become readily apparent.

The processing itself was fairly straight forward, and even simple stretching of the RGB combined frame showed far more blue than most of us are used to seeing in this nebula. Ha was added to the red channel, and OIII to both the green and blue channels. The luminance overlay was a synthetic layer consisting of RGB, Ha, and OIII data. Processing was via Photoshop and PixInsight.

We welcome others' opinions on the color palette we have hopefully faithfully reproduced.

In the meantime, have some fun by diving into our "Blue Lagoon".

addendum (August 2016) -- please compare to a narrowband only version (with RGB stars) HERE

Technical Details
Exposure Time:
Ha 5 hrs, OIII 6 hours, RGB 3 hr/channel
Apogee U9
RCOS Carbon Truss 16 inch f/11.3 Ritchey-Chretien
Software Bisque Paramount ME
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