The Lagoon Nebula and the Trifid: a smile in the sky.

The Lagoon Nebula (M8 or NGC6523) is a beautiful stellar nursery about 5,000 light years away from us and that we can find in the constellation of Sagittarius, in the direction of the center of our galaxy.

The visible light image reveals a landscape filled with ridges of gas and dust. This landscape is being sculpted by ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds from a huge young star, you can see in the center of the image, the star, known as Herschel 36, is approximately 200,000 times brighter than our sun.

Most of the stars are more distant background stars behind the nebula. Dark spots known as globules of Bok mark the thickest parts of the nebula, where dust protects the stars that still form and their planets.

North of the Lagoon Nebula is a truly precious object: the Trifid Nebula. It is a nebula fainter in brightness than the previous one, magnitude 6.3, and also smaller (20 minutes of arc, two-thirds the diameter of the Full Moon) but it is no less charming for that. Curiously, like the previous one, it was discovered in the middle of the 18th century although, personally, I have more and more doubts about it. So many beauties cannot be overlooked together! Located 5500 light years from our Sun, it is a nebula that emits (like the one in the Lagoon) but also reflects radiation from outside. This can be seen in the photograph. The bluish outer zone is a consequence of the reflection of light from nearby stars and the reddish (and inner) zone is the emission zone produced by the excitation of the atoms of the gases that compose it by the stars located there. It is another cradle of stars, a region of stellar birth, very important! The telescope can be seen divided into three parts thanks to a region of dust that prevents the passage of light (a dark nebulosity).

Northeast of the Trifid Nebula we find an open star cluster: M21 (Messier 21). The cluster, discovered by Charles Messier in 1754, is not very numerous in stars despite being a good size, 17 minutes of arc. Its brightness, magnitude 6.5, also makes it a bright and striking cluster. It is located just over 4000 light years from us