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Lagoon Nebula

M8, NGC 6523

Proper NameLagoon Nebula
Messier NumberM8
NGC/IC NumberNGC 6523
Right Ascension18h 3m 37s
Declination-24° 23' 12"
Distancec.4,100 light years
c.1,300 parsecs
MagnitudeApparent: +6.0
Absolute: -4.5
Mean DiameterApparent: 90' x 40'
Actual: c.110 x 50 light years
Optimum VisibilityJuly
NotesAn emission nebula in the direction of the Galaxy's core, the Lagoon acts as a stellar nursery. Dark material within the main nebula forms a distinct twisted shape known as the Hourglass.

A nebulous region roughly five thousand light years from the Solar System, in the direction of the Milky Way's core. More than a hundred light years from end to end, several new stars are forming within the matter that makes up the nebula. Forces from one brilliant new star that has already formed within the nebula generate a distinct structure within the heart of the cloud, sometimes referred to as the Hourglass.


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