Scorpius

Shaula the trifid nebula

The pinkish emission of the Trifid Nebula's gas contrasts with the blue reflection nebula lying to its north (left on this image), as revealed on photographs and CCD images.

the teapot

The main stars of Sagittarius form a shape resembling a teapot, with rich Milky Way star fields billowing like steam from the spout. At top right of this picture is the tail of Scorpius.

subject for viewing through binoculars. As with all nebulae, the red color revealed by photographs is not apparent visually.

features of interest

BETA (P) sAGITTARII 2 5 A pair of 4th-magnitude stars, visible separately to the naked eye. A small telescope shows that the more northerly (and slightly brighter) of the two has a 7th-magnitude companion. All three stars are unrelated.

w sAGITTARII 2 1 A Cepheid variable that ranges between magnitudes 4.3 and 5.1 every 7.6 days.

X sAGITTARII 2 1 A Cepheid variable that ranges between magnitudes 4.2 and 4.9 every 7.0 days.

M8 (THE lagoon NEBulA) 2 1 5 S A patch of glowing gas that extends for three times the apparent width of a full moon, bright enough to be visible to the naked eye and well seen through binoculars. One half of the nebula contains the open cluster NGC 6530, with stars of 7th magnitude and fainter, while in the other half lies the 6th-magnitude blue supergiant 9 Sagittarii.

M17 (the omega nebula) 5 S A gaseous nebula that takes its name from its supposed resemblance to the Greek letter omega. It is also known as the Swan Nebula from an alternative interpretation of its shape. It can be glimpsed through binoculars, as can the loose cluster of stars within it.

M20 (THE TRIFID nebula) 5 S A spectacular emission nebula that gets its popular name because it is trisected by dark lanes of dust.

M22 2 1 5 One of the finest globular clusters in the entire sky. M22 is visible to the naked eye under good conditions and is an easy object for binoculars, appearing as a woolly ball about two-thirds the apparent diameter of the Moon. Apertures of 3 in (75 mm) will resolve its brightest stars.

M23 1 5 A large open cluster visible through binoculars near the border with Ophiuchus but requiring a telescope to resolve its individual stars.

M24 2 1 Not a star cluster as such, but a bright Milky Way star field. Four apparent Moon diameters long, it is best seen through binoculars.

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