M8 - Lagoon Nebula

M8 - Lagoon Nebula: This is the second brightest star forming region (after Orion).

Messier: 8
NGC: 6523
Right Ascension: 18h 3m 37s
Declination: -24° 23' 12"
Apparent Magnitude: 6.0

Date: October 2009
Equipment:
Telescope: Meade 16" Schmidt Cassegrain with f6.3 reducer
Camera: SBIG ST-10XE
Guiding: Meade 5" refractor/DSI Pro/PHD

Exposure:
Luminance: 20x15s
Red: 9x30s
Green: 9x30s
Blue 9x30s

Processing Notes: The camera was at -25C. The data was reduced and aligned in CCDStack, and combined in Sigma Beta, and saved as a 32bit FITs. The RGB data were combined in AstroArt at 1:1:1.5 and saved as a TIFF(view). The RGB channels got a small gaussian blur on the dim areas in Photoshop. The luminance file was imported to Photoshop using a Fits Liberator sqrt(x) stretch function. The dim areas also got a minor gaussian blur. Brighter areas were sharpened using an unsharp mask. A 25% minimum filter was applied to only the stars. L was combined with RGB using three layers: Luminance on the bottom; RGB as a multiply(40%); and RGB as a color layer on top. Final stretch and tweak (including fixing a "dripping" star) in Photoshop.

Links to images of this object on other sites:
http://www.narrowbandimaging.com/images/M8remixdbs_S2_Ha_O3.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lagoon_nebula_SALT.jpg

Additional Comments: This was a target of opportunity. I was waiting for other targets to rise, and had enough time for these relatively short exposures.

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