25 October 2016 | Gamma Cygni Widefield

Gamma Cygni

Credit: Rob Preston | Click image to enlarge and here for full-size (33MB!)

 

This stunning widefield image of the Gamma Cygni area was made by Rob Preston from the UK. The image is actually a mosaic consisting of 16 panels of narrowband data. It does not come as a surprise that completing this image took Rob almost 6 months, representing a significant portion of his effort under the night sky for 2016.

The bright star left and below the centre is Gamma Cygni. Gamma Cygni (a.k.a. Sadr) is a bright star in the constellation of Cygnus that appears to be surrounded by extended nebulosity. However, Sadr is actually a foreground star superimposed upon the background nebula. This nebula is catalogued as IC 1318 and is over 100 light years across. The nebula is bisected by a foreground dark lane called LDN 889.

Slightly right from the centre you find the beautiful Crescent Nebula, a famous nebula in this region. The Crescent consists of shells of gas that are being energized by the strong stellar wind from the Wolf-Rayet star WR 136, the bright star at the centre of this nebula. Wolf-Rayet stars are very hot, massive stars that are blowing off their outer layers. The nebula has a length of about 20 light years.

Visible on the left slightly below the middle is the Propeller Nebula or DWB-111. A mysterious emission nebula of which very little is known (for example the  distance to this object or the source of excitation are unknown).

In the top right corner you see the Tulip Nebula or Sh2-101: a H II region emission nebula catalogued by astronomer Stewart Sharpless in his 1959 catalog of nebulae. It lies at a distance of about 6,000 light-years (5.7×1016 km; 3.5×1016 mi) from Earth.

Source: Atlas of the Universe

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