M-8 (NGC-6523) is one of the finest diffuse nebulae in the northern sky, second only to M-42, the Great Orion Nebula. It is located in the constellation Sagittarius, and is visible to the unaided eye as a nebulous patch about 5 degrees west and slightly north of Lambda Sagittarii. It is sometimes called the "Lagoon" nebula due to the dark bay formed by obscuring dust clouds between the brightest part of the nebula to the west and the star cluster NGC-6530 to the east. M-8 was discovered by Hodierna in 1654 and added to Charles Messier's catalog as number 8 in 1747. It is formed by clouds of hydrogen gas that are ionized by the radiation from the hot bright stars in the imbedded cluster NGC-6530. M-8 lies at a distance of 5,000 light years from Earth and is 110 X 60 light years in extent.
This image, acquired on August 6, 2013 is a 1 hour integration of 6 minute exposures through the Celestron C-11 at f/2 using the HyperStar III imaging system and the Starlight Express SXVR-H694C color CCD camera operating at -10 degrees below ambient temperature and binned 1 X 1. Guided captured and combined using Maxim DL5 Pro. Post processed using PhotoShop CS2, Gradient XTerminator, StarShrink Carboni's Astro Tools and NoiseWare.