Nebulosity around Gamma Cygni - IC1318, NGC6910, IC1311, CR419, vdB 130, B343

Click here for 50% size image (~1.5MB).

Imaging automated by CCD Commander

First Place Winner: Picture-Taking & Processing Contest
Diffraction Limited and Imagetech-Ontario

Purchase a print of this image!

Image Data: Object Information:
  • Exposure:  HaGB
    • All exposures binned 1x1
    • Upper Left: Ha 5x900s, G 60x60s, B 60x96s
    • Lower Left: Ha 6x900s, G 60x60s, B 60x96s
    • Lower Right: Ha 6x900s, G 47x60s, B 59x96s
    • Upper Right: Ha 6x900s, G 20x60s, B 60x96s
  • Telescope:  Stellarvue SV80S @ f/4.77
  • Mount:  MI-250 GoTo
  • Camera:  SBIG ST-10XME CCD, SBIG CFW-8
    • SBIG Standard Green & Blue filters
    • Custom Scientific 4.5nm Ha filter
  • Location:  My backyard in Santa Barbara, CA
  • Date/Time: 
    • Upper Left: September 8-9, 2005, 22:26-03:58 PDT
    • Lower Left: September 10-11, 2005, 21:40-03:49 PDT
    • Lower Right: September 11-12, 2005, 21:42-03:32 PDT
    • Upper Right: September 12-13, 2005, 21:09-01:59 PDT
  • Processing:  Taken  in MaxIm v4 using CCDCommander.  Reduced in CCDSoft.  Aligned with RegiStar.  Combined sub-exposures with Ray Gralak's Sigma Clip.  DDP in MaxIm.  Mosaic assembled in Photoshop.  Levels, unsharp mask, selective blur in Photoshop.

  • Name:  Gamma Cygni nebulous region
  • Other objects:  IC1318, NGC6910, IC1311, CR419, vdB 130, B343
  • Type:  Emission nebula and some dim reflection nebula
  • Constellation:  Cygnus
  • Distance: Documented at various distances from 1500-5000 light years

Gamma Cygni (the brightest star near the middle of the image) is so named because it is in the constellation Cygnus. The designation Gamma is meant to indicate the star is the third brightest in the constellation (Gamma being the third letter of the Greek alphabet -Alpha, Beta, Gamma). However, often the designations are not quite right and in this case Gamma Cygni is the second brightest star in the constellation.

Cygnus is commonly referred to as the "Northern Cross" and is visible high in the sky around 8pm in the late summer. Face east and look almost directly up. You can see the cross lying on its side with the arm pointing almost up and down. Gamma Cygni is the middle star of the cross, at the point where the two arms meet.

Gamma Cygni is approximately 750 light years away. While it is in the middle of this nebular complex, it is actually not associated with the nebula at all. I've seen the nebulosity reported at anywhere from 1500 to 5000 light years distant. Gamma Cygni now happens to line up with the expansive swath of interstellar gas...

"IC 1318" is the proper name for the nebulosity just left of Gamma Cygni. Commonly this area is called the Butterfly Nebula. Look carefully and you can see the butterfly - the dark area its body, and the red nebula its wings.

This image spans an area of just over 4 degrees wide and almost 2.5 degrees tall. The moon has an average size of 0.5 degrees. That means that if you put the moon on this image and copy it so it covers the entire space, there will be about 40 moons!

Back          Home