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M8 (NGC 6523), or Lagoon Nebula, a 5th-mag. emission nebula in Sagittarius.

M8 is a region where gas and dust are collapsing to form new stars. Within M8 is a star cluster, NGC 6530 (overexposed here); its stars cause the surrounding hydrogen gas to glow, revealing the nebula. The "lagoon" is the dark dust lane (upper right) that cuts M8 into two unequal parts.


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