The Sagittarius Star Cloud (M24)




And behold, the word of the Lord came to him . . . and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:5-6

The Sagittarius Star Cloud is a dense concentration of stars near the center of our Milky Way galaxy. This wide-field image covers an area that is roughly 2.5 x 4 degrees (about 40 full Moons). The small cluster of stars in the lower left corner is NGC 6603. In this picture, you are peering 10,000 light years in the direction of the center of the galaxy some 25,000 light years away. The black areas are giant clouds of obscuring dust, and the brownish areas represent the accumulated light of tens of billions of older, cooler stars in the central region of the galaxy.

Image Name:

The Sagittarius Star Cloud

Date Taken:

May 24-25, 2014

Location Taken:

Springfield, Missouri USA

Conditions of Location:

Equipment Used:

Takahashi FSQ-106 apochromatic refractor, Paramount ME mount, SBIG STL11000 CCD camera, Astrodon LRGB filters.

Processing Used:

8 x 3 minutes LRGB, processed with Maxim DL and Photoshop.

Distance from Location:

10,000 light years



Other Link:


  • June 15, 2014

    This photo brings back fond memories of a long-ago night when some friends and I were using tripod-mounted 11×80 binoculars to observe the summer Milky Way. We were under the then dark skies of the Hercules Glades Wilderness Area south of Springfield and I remember being amazed and delighted by one part of the sky revealing an especially dense profusion of stars. I couldn’t believe how many stars could be seen. I later learned that the richest part of the star field is known as M24. The beauty of that still summer night is hard to describe, and as a teacher I now spend several nights a year trying to share such awesome views and experiences with some of my students and their parents. It’s very rewarding! It saddens me to see more and more people being cut off from such wondrous beauty by light pollution, much of it needless and quite avoidable.

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