northern cygnus
northern cygnus Back to Index Page Previous Image Next Image
This rather interesting image covers a swath of sky located in northern Cygnus more than 15 degrees across! It includes, of course, the brilliant naked eye star Deneb along with a virtual plethora of nebulosities. There are simply more catalogued dark and emission nebulae in this image than I could ever attempt to label. However, a few of the image's more notable features include The North American (NGC 7000) and Pelican (IC 5070) Nebulae. These two glowing HII regions, along with the ruddy IC 5068 to their immediate south, are all actually part of the same nebular complex. Known as Westerhout 80, this immense cloud of molecular gas and dust has been traced out to be more than 3 degrees across at radio wavelengths! The reason that the nebulosities appear seperated is because of a thick veil of dark dust, known as LDN 935, draping across the brightest portions of the illuminated nebula. As a matter of fact, it was only recently discovered that the illuminating star of this entire complex is a heavily reddened 13th magnitude class O5V star located behind the dark lane of dust seprating the North American and Pelican nebulosities! The hot young star is catalogued as 2MASS J205551.25+435224.6, and it would be a bright blue naked eye star if it were not for the interstellar extinction from dust in our line of sight. Out to the left of NGC 7000 is another large complex of nebulae known collectively as Simeis 88. Each tentacle of this glowing claw-like structure has its own designation in Lynds Bright Nebula catalogue. To the immediate north of Simeis 88 is a similar sized clump of dark nebulosity listed as LDN 989. Another prominent feature of the area is the Northern Coalsack, which is a conglomeration of several dark nebulae of which the most opaque is LDN 906 located just to the south of Deneb. Being such a large contrasty feature, the Northern Coalsack is easily visible to the naked eye on clear summer nights. Other distinct areas of interest include IC 1318, the Butterfly Nebula, located in the far lower righthand corner of the shot along with the bright star Gamma Cygni. All along the righthand side of the image lies many wispy strands of red nebulosity, mostly thought to be associated with a relatively nearby "superbubble" of very hot and tenuous gases spanning more than 1300 light years in diameter. Image taken with Canon 70-200mm USM-L lens at 135mm/f5.6 and STL-11000XM. LRGB image composed of 90 minutes of L and 40 minutes each R,G,B. Be sure to click on the above image for the high resolution version.