North America Nebula and Friend
New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars: NGC 7000, Index Catalogue: IC 5070
Constellation: Cygnus - The Swan


This is a close-up of the North America nebula I imaged back in the 80ies, when my energy and inspiration drove me to make my first astrophotography attempts with my humble equipment.

What you see here is NOT two pitoresquely shaped nebulae glowing in the red light of ionized hydrogen. It is a single huge nebula in front of which dark interstellar matter casts the borders which sparks the human phantasy to see a map of North America to the left and a pelican to the right. Pictures taken in infrared light, which passes the dust more esaily, demonstrate that it is the dark matter making patterns, not the bright one.

I took this picture with my small refractor because in this specific night I had to capture Nova Delphini 2013, and I did not want to switch the optics. The moon rose shortly after midnight, and the ultimate 30 minutes of the 3 hours exposure were yet slightly illuminated by the waning crescent...


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