M8 Lagoon Nebula and M20 Trifid Nebula
Gazing south on clear summer nights, the Milky Way hosts one of its most splendid regions for amateur astronomers. The dense area around the star-forming region of the Lagoon Nebula is a spectacular sight in even the smallest binoculars. Bright nebulae intermingle with extended star clouds, rich star clusters sparkle in between, and pitch black dark nebulae give the scene a three-dimensional appearance. This region close to the galactic center has such a high dynamic range that no conventional photograph would capture all the details. Therefore we used a HDR imaging technique (high dynamic range) and digitally combined subframes of different exposure times. We dedicate this picture to our close Spanish friend Sebastian, with whom we spent endless hours on La Palma, discussing advanced astronomical imaging techniques and relaxing, having tapas. The image was shot on the Canary Island La Palma about 800 meters above sea level on a night with exceptionally high transparency. For those familiar with sky brightness, our SQM-L registered 21.4 mags per square arcsecond in the zenith. Next time you are out under a dark sky yourself, look south and take a minute to immerse yourself in the splendor of this stellar nursery. [Released July 13, 2014]