Astrophotography by David Gares

Trifid Nebula M20

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M20, the Trifid Nebula, is named for its lobed appearance due to the three most prominent dark lanes of dust which divide it.  "Trifid" is pronounced as "try-fid".  It's from the Latin word trifidus, which means split into three.   This object is quite photogenic, but my luck in imaging this nebula has been bad.  My first try was grossly underexposed.  My second try with the LX200 appears at the bottom.  The Trifid was already past the meridian when I began capturing images.  Two captures were ruined by gusts and one by skyglow as the object got too low in the southwest sky.  My first try with the Tak appears above that.  Dropping temperatures caused the scope to lose focus due to thermal expansion, and the clouds ruined 5 of 20 shots.  At the top I replaced the luminance with a mono shot with a modern CCD camera, but the camera wasn't square.  Luckily the object was nowhere near the edges where the stars aren't round.  It's a very odd combination, a state of the art luminance but with obsolete color technology (0.44 Megapixels).
You can see the unusual combination of a bright red emission nebula surrounded by a fainter blue reflection nebula (especially to the north).  My LPR filters blocked some of the blue however.  The distance and size of this nebula seems to be in dispute.

Trifid Nebula M20
 (Click image to enlarge)


 Object Details:  
 Type:  Emission nebula
 Constellation:  Sagittarius
 Distance: 2000-9000 light-years
 Size:  Uncertain

 Upper Image Details: 
 Middle Image w/ New Luminance
 Date:  May 05, 2013
 Site:  Harahan, LA
 Exposure:  CCD, 25 x 3 min.
 Filters:  IDAS LPS V4 48mm
 Processing:  MSB Astroart 3.0/5.0
 Telescope:  4" Tak FSQ-106N
 Reducer:  None (f/5.0)
 Image CCD:  SX SXVR-H694 Mono
 Guide CCD:  SX  MX7C (1.88x Barlow) 
 Guide Scope:  AT66ED, ScopeStuff TBSX

 Middle Image Details:
 Date:  June 05, 2005
 Site:  Harahan, LA
 Conditions:  Between Clouds
 Exposure:  CCD, 15 x 5 min.
 Filters:  Orion SkyGlow LPR
 Processing:  MSB Astroart 3.0
 Telescope:  4" Tak FSQ-106N
 Reducer:  None (f/5.0)
 CCD:  Starlight Express MX7C
 Autoguider:  S.T.A.R.

 Lower Image Details:

 Date:  August 7, 2004
 Site:  Harahan, LA
 Exposure:  CCD, 6 x 5 min.
 Filters:  Orion SkyGlow LPR
 Processing:  MSB Astroart 3.0
 Telescope:  10" Meade LX200
 Reducer:  Meade, f/4.3
 CCD:  Starlight Express MX7C
 Autoguider:  S.T.A.R. 2000