Inspired by Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”

Here we have the Sagittarius triplet in glorious narrowband, taken from my light polluted suburban backyard in Melbourne, Australia. Very tricky to process with the brightness range being extreme over these three objects. The M8 core and M20 are insanely bright, and NGC 6334 is very dim. Also the surrounding area is rich in Ha and S2 so they needed to be toned down to emphasise the “flower vase” structure.

I wanted to “respect the light” but I had to compensate by dimming down certain areas for an overall pleasing aesthetic effect.

Hav’nt seen too many Sagittarius triplets with this NB treatment and composition, so I hope you like it and thanks for looking!

Gold Award (with Distinction) 2017 AIPP Victorian Professional Photography Awards

Gold Award 2017 AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards

Image chosen as NASA APOD June 24th, 2016

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nebula M20, M8 & NGC 6334 narrowband image sagittarius
Sagittarius Sunflowers M20, M8 Ngc 6334

Capture Details

TelescopeStellarvue SV70T
CameraQSI 683 WSG8
MountSkywatcher EQ6 Pro
FiltersAstrodon 3nm Ha, O3, S2 & RGB
Guiding CameraStarlight Xpress Lodestar X2
Integration time (Exposure)20 Hrs
LocationBurwood, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
DateJune 2016

About this Nebula

These three bright nebulae are often featured in telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of the central Milky Way. In fact, 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged two of them; M8, the large nebula left of center, and colorful M20 near the bottom of the frame The third, NGC 6559, is right of M8, separated from the larger nebula by dark dust lanes. All three are stellar nurseries about five thousand light-years or so distant. The expansive M8, over a hundred light-years across, is also known as the Lagoon Nebula. M20’s popular moniker is the Trifid. In the composite image, narrowband data records ionized hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur atoms radiating at visible wavelengths. The mapping of colors and range of brightness used to compose this cosmic still life were inspired by Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers. Just right of the Trifid one of Messier’s open star clusters, M21, is also included on the telescopic canvas.(APOD)

About APOD

Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) is originated, written, coordinated, and edited since 1995 by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell. The APOD archive contains the largest collection of annotated astronomical images on the internet.

APOD in general and the APOD site served from NASA specifically places links solely on information content and does not endorse any commercial product nor guarantee claims or sales made on any linked pages.
In real life, Bob and Jerry are two professional astronomers who spend most of their time researching the universe. Bob is a professor at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, USA, while Jerry is a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland USA. They are two married, mild and lazy guys who might appear relatively normal to an unsuspecting guest.Together, they have found new and unusual ways of annoying people such as staging astronomical debates.

Apod selects images from the Hubble, Cassini Spacecraft, and the world’s top observatories. A select few amateur astronomy images are occasionally featured. To have one’s image chosen by APOD/NASA is generally regarded as the highest honour for an amateur astrophotographer.

Sagittarius Sunflowers

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“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”