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How Can I Confirm that I Have Found the Deep Sky Object M8?

10 Jul 2016, 21:03 UTC
How Can I Confirm that I Have Found the Deep Sky Object M8?
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Question: Hi. I am trying to find DSO in Sag and Oph with 15×64 binocs and think I have found M8. Is it fuzzy grey with stars on left and right diagonals? Due west are two clusters appearing to have diamonds in the center, one to the upper left of the other and above them a lovely cluster that looks like M7. Am I on the right track? Any suggestions as how to identify? Thanks very much. (I’m not an amateur astronomer, just casual observer trying to learn). How can I tell if what I am seeing is that particular object? — Patricia
Answer: I believe that M7 is to the SW of M8, not above it. M8 (the Lagoon Nebula) itself looks like a bright region of nebulosity similar to what you describe. M20 (the Trifid Nebula) is just to the north and a bit east of M8. The Trifid is quite distinct with a bright star at its center of nebulosity. You might try finding the Trifid near M8 to confirm your identification.
Jeff Mangum

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