Lagoon Nebula (M8, NGC 6523)
One of the most remarkable features of the Lagoon is the presence of dark globules, each about 10,000 AU across, that are thought to be collapsing protostellar clouds. Some of the more conspicuous globules are identified in Barnard's catalogue of dark nebulae.
As so often with diffuse nebulae, a cluster of young stars that formed from the nebula's material was discovered first – in this case the open cluster NGC 6530 in the eastern half of M8. This was found by John Flamsteed in about 1680, and again seen by Jean de Cheseaux in 1746, before Guillaume Le Gentil found the nebula in 1747. When Charles Messier catalogued this object on May 23, 1764, he also primarily described the cluster, and mentioned the nebula separately as surrounding the star 9 Sagittarii; nevertheless, it is the nebula that is now generally regarded as Messier 8.
Related categories• NEBULAE AND STAR CLUSTERS
• MESSIER CATALOGUE
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