Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Lagoon Nebula

I just found a vintage photo of one of my favorite astronomical objects, M8--the Lagoon Nebula.

The photo was one of the old Palomar PR shots, but my copy has been laying in a file drawer for quite sometime. Here it is, fresh from my scanner:

The image was taken using the 200-inch Hale Telescope at prime focus and it is remarkable that this was the world's best in 1961 (when it was copyrighted by Caltech). Of course pictures like this one were shot on glass photographic plates or, eventually, color film.

Flash forward to today where amateur astronomers now have equipment that rivals or exceeds what the professional astronomers were using 45+ years ago. The good thing is that the professionals also have much better equipment and still have the big telescopes. So they continue to put out some amazing stuff.


Kimber said...

That is beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Would you please scan in the color image of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) taken in 1959 by the 200-inch?

There may be better ones since that time, but the Hale image of M31 from almost 50 years ago remains among my favorites.

This is the same way I feel about the Hale telescope: There may be bigger and better ones, but the 200-inch will always be my standard and ideal for telescopes.

It also gives a feeling of depth and vastness in space that I have seldom seen since.

Thank you and thank you for having this site preserving Mount Palomar history.

Scott Kardel said...


I will certainly get the image of the Andromeda Galaxy out on the blog soon. It was in the same file with the image of the Lagoon Nebula and some other gems too.