M20 - NGC 6514
DSS image of M20
Overlaid DSS image of M20, 60' x 60' with north at top and west to the right

Aladin viewer for the region around M20
Trifid Nebula
Bode 47, H IV 41, H V 10, H V 11, H V 12, h 1991, h 3718, Collinder 360, Cr 360, Sh2-30, Lund 803, C 1759-230, LBN 27, ESO 521-N*013, OCl 23.0

Type  Bright Nebula
Magnitude  6.3
Size  29'
Right Ascension  18h 2' 42.0"  (2000)
Declination  22° 58' 19" S
Constellation  Sagittarius
Description  !!! vB, vL, trifid, D * inv
Classification  E+*
Observing Notes

Andrew Cooper
Aug 10, 2020    Waikoloa, HI (map)
20cm f/6 Newtonian, Cave Astrola @ 76x

Large, bright, diffuse nebula surrounding a set of 7th magnitude stars, two distinct lobes north and south

The southern lobe is the eponymous Trifid, a bright 10' diameter round object centered on a pair of stars, 6.8 magnitude HIP88330 and 6.8 magnitude HD164492 which along with some close companions are the primary illumination source of the nebula, a set of dark rifts radiate out from these stars creating the divisions from which the name is derived

The northern lobe is a bit fainter and smaller at about 7' in diameter, centered on the 7.4 magnitude star HD164514 found 8' north of the central stars of the southern lobe, a round region of faint glow fading in all directions

Andrew Cooper
Jun 27, 2020    Waikoloa Quarry, HI (map)
8x42mm Nikon Prostaff 3S Binoculars @ 8x

A small patch of nebula 1/2° across found 1.5° north of M8, a thick clump of brighter stars scattered through the object encompass the nebula and the cluster M21 to the north, the cluster is more apparent in binoculars than the fainter nebula

Andrew Cooper
Aug 11, 2017    Waikoloa, HI (map)
Hodgepodge w/TV-76mm f/6 APO @ 30x

A circular patch of nebulosity surrounds a double star, round, about 10' in diameter, the famous namesake rifts not visible, M8 visible a bit over a degree south, M21 visible ½° northeast

Andrew Cooper
Apr 19, 2012    Hale Pohaku, HI (map)
46cm f/4.5 Newtonian, Deep Violet @ 175x

A beautiful and complex region of nebulosity that fills the 28' field of the eyepiece, large, very bright, cut by a pattern of wide dark lanes, the brighter western gegion is roughly circular, separated from the eastern region by a dark lane, the west region divided by three dark lanes radiating from the center, a conspicuous double star at the bright center, the eastern region somewhat dimmer and also showing dark lanes and brighter knots, notable dark void surround the complex

Andrew Cooper
Jun 17, 2006    TIMPA, Avra Valley, AZ (map)
90mm f/12 APO Refractor Violet Haze

Round area of nebulosity surrounding a conspicuous double star, bright, the dark lanes that are so apparent with Violet or in photos are quite faint, the nebula split in two, not three or four, about 10' north a fainter patch of nebula surrounds the 7.3 mag. star

Andrew Cooper
May 25, 2001    Dragoon Mtn. Ranch, Cochise Co., AZ (map)
46cm f/4.5 Deep Violet

Nebulosity all through the field, dark lanes very apparent

Andrew Cooper
May 24, 1998    Picacho Peak State Park, AZ (map)
20cm f/10 SCT

Bright region near the central stars with dark lanes clearly visible, extensive nebulosity through the whole field

Rev. T.W. Webb
May 19, 1885    Hardwick, Herefordshire, England (map)

The Trifid neb. closely f a cruciform group. Very curious object; pair with minute comes 'where the three ways meet, dark rifts through the nebulosity.' β, with the 36-in., sees six stars. Spect. not gaseous; yet La. and Holden report curious change. Neb. imperfectly seen by Sm. as well as myself; rather low. Grand region.
― Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes, T. W. Webb, 1917

John Herschel
Jul 1, 1826    

Very large; trifid, three nebulae with a vacuity in the midst, in which is centrally situated the double star Sh 379, the nebula is 7' in extent. A most remarkable object.

William Herschel
Jul 12, 1784    19 New King Street, Bath (map)
18.5" reflector

Three nebulae, faintly joined, form a triangle. In the middle is a double st[ar], vF [very faint], and of great extent.

William Herschel
May 3, 1783    19 New King Street, Bath (map)
18.5" reflector @ 350x

Two nebulae close together, both resolvable into stars; the preceding however leaves some doubt, though I suppose a higher power and more light would confirm the conjecture. 10 feet, power 350: the instrument will not bear a higher power in this low altitude.

Charles Messier
May 23, 1764    

Cluster of stars, a little above the Ecliptic, between the bow of Sagittarius & the right foot of Ophiuchus. Seen again March 22, 1781."
― Connaissance des Temps, 1781
Other Data Sources for M20
Associated objects for M20
Nearby objects for M20

Drawings, descriptions, and CCD photos are copyright Andrew Cooper unless otherwise noted, no usage without permission.

A complete list of credits and sources can be found on the about page