M20 (NGC 6514) -- Trifid Nebula & Open Cluster in Sagittarius
Trifid Nebula
The night started off hazy with a light cloud cover.  I was convinced that any observation of deep
sky objects was not going to happen, so I covered the scope and got a few hours of sleep. After
midnight the improvement in the sky once again enticed me to leave the bedroom and move to
the deck to uncover the telescope.  The teapot asterism in Sagittarius could easily be seen, even
from my suburban house.  That was good since my object of interest was the Trifid Nebula, a
marvelous bright nebula cut into irregular pieces by channels of dark nebulae, which was located
just northwest of the asterism.  With the name of “Trifid” one would suspect that the nebula was cut
into three pieces, but with the help of nebula filters (a must from my yard), the nebula appeared to
be in four sections.  M20 is both the Trifid Nebula and an open cluster.  The collection of stars
makes the nebula sparkle and adds a pleasing dimension to the observation.