The Lagoon Nebula is a giant interstellar cloud located approximately 4,000-6,000 light years from Earth. Discovered in the constellation Sagittarius in 1747 by Guillaume Le Gentil, it is one of only two star forming nebula visible from the Northern Hemisphere. The word and name lagoon comes from the Latin word lacuna meaning a lake or pond, occasionally even hole. It arrived in English in the 1610s from the Italian word laguna. Originally the word referred to the region around Venice. Captain Cooke is credited with using the word outside of Venice, when in 1769 he used the word to describe a lagoon in a south seas atoll.
First image by S. Guisard and the European Southern Observatory. Second Image by Wide Field Channel of the Advanced Camera for Surveys on Hubble. Third Image by Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit/European Southern Observatory. All used with permission under the Creative Commons 3.0 license.