M24, a galactic star cloud in Sagittarius.

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Photographer John Sanford

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Additional Information This 90-arcminute wide glowing patch is actually just an inner arm of the Milky Way glimpsed through a "window" (a break in the dust clouds) as we look towards the center of our galaxy. It is visible to the unaided eye in a dark sky. Some Messier catalogs identify M24 as NGC 6603, a small open cluster within the star cloud. However, Messier's own description of M24 (1.5 deg wide, mag. 4.5) much more closely fits the star cloud than the small open cluster. Imaged by John Sanford at OCA Anza Observatory, using a Starlight Xpress CCD camera.