5,000 Light Years from Home

Milky Way – Sagittarius Arm
The center of our galaxy lies in the direction of constellation Sagittarius. This arm of the Milky Way is densely populated with star clusters and nebulae, many of which can be seen with the naked eye. The Sagittarius Star Cloud, M 24, is the densest region in the Milky Way.
There are many star clusters in Sagittarius. M 18 is a sparse cluster with about 20 stars. M 25 is a fifth magnitude cluster which appears as a loose, scattered group of 30 stars. M 23 is an irregularly shaped cluster with some 120 stars. M 21 is a diamond-shaped cluster with 70 stars of eighth magnitude and fainter.
Globular cluster M 22 is a fifth magnitude globular cluster which is visible in binoculars. It is the closest globular cluster to our solar system. Other bright Messier globular clusters in Sagittarius include M 28, M 54, M 55, M 69, M 70, and M 75.
On a clear night, M 8, the famous Lagoon Nebula is visible. This glowing cloud of gas and dust appears nearly one degree in diameter. M 8 is a spectacular object in a small telescope, nearly as impressive as M 42 in Orion. It lies 5200 light-years away, and is at least 100 light-years across; the star cluster NGC 6530, embedded in the eastern half of the nebula, is forming from the nebula's gases.

Imaged 15th June 2013 @ 2000 hrs
Canon 7D
Canon 24-105L Lens (24mm)
ISO 1600
Exp. 26 sec @ f4



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