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Continuing my tour of Cygnus, here is the lower wall of NGC7000 The North America Nebula. It is huge, covering an area of more than four times the size of the full moon, but its surface brightness is low so normally it cannot be seen with the unaided eye. Binoculars and telescopes with large fields of view (approximately 3°) will show it as a foggy patch of light under sufficiently dark skies. Its prominent shape and especially its reddish color (from the hydrogen Hα emission line) only show up in photographs of the area.

The North America Nebula and the nearby Pelican Nebula, (IC 5070) are in fact parts of the same interstellar cloud of ionized hydrogen (H II region). Between the Earth and the nebula complex lies a band of interstellar dust that absorbs the light of stars and nebulae behind it and thereby is responsible for the shape as we see it. The distance of the nebula complex is not precisely known, nor is the star responsible for ionizing the hydrogen so that it emits light. If the star inducing the ionization is Deneb, as some sources say, the nebula complex would be about 1800 light years distance, and its absolute size (6° apparent diameter on the sky) would be 100 light years.

Camera: Canon 300D (Ha Modified)
Scope: Skywatcher Explorer 200P 8″ Newt with Baader MPCC
Mount: HEQ5 Pro with ASCOM control
Guiding: Orion ST80 with QHY5
Software: Canon Capture, PHD, Stellarium
Exposures: 12 x 7 minutes = 1 hour 24 mins total

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