M20 - The Trifid Nebula
Coordinates: 18h 01.9m  -23 02 (2000)
Magnitude: 9.0
Size: 29 x 27 minutes
Constellation: Saggitarius (best viewed in Summer)
Similar to the nearby Omega nebula, the Trifid nebula is a large hydrogren cloud containing areas of active star formation. The red color is caused by hydrogen emission while the blue area is reflected starlight. The three dark lanes in the Trifid are probably dark foreground clouds.
The Trifid is visible through binoculars as a bright condensation in the Milky Way. With a telescope, the three dark lanes become visible, though the blue reflection nebula is much tougher to see visually. Only one degree southeast of the Trifid lies M8, the Lagoon nebula, a much larger, naked eye object. Together, the two objects make a fine target for a wide field eyepiece.