This picture was produced using luminance exposures from a 20-inch Ritchey-Chretien telescope and color information obtained with a 4-inch astrographic refractor. This same photographic information was also used to prepare a wide field image covering this subject's location towards the constellation of Sagittarius. It depicts a close-up of the central area of the Lagoon Nebula, also known as M 8.

The amount of activity in this view is extraordinarily powerful and furious! Enormous jets of energetic dust and gas, hundreds of light years in length, can be seen arcing upward from the bright, towering, central star producing factory. The orientation of this view reinforces the perspective that our Earth-bound glimpse places us above one end of a deep oblong valley of gas and dust hollowed out by the stellar winds blowing from the star nursery that is hanging above.

Interestingly, although the Lagoon Nebula is located about 5,000 light years from Earth (which is an enormous distance!), it can be glimpsed with unaided vision from a dark south-facing site during mid-summer in the northern hemisphere. Southern hemispheric observers can spot it by looking overhead during mid-winter.