Skies By Africa

Images of the Heavens By Eric Africa

NGC 7000 and IC 5070

NGC 7000 and IC 5070
Cygnus the Swan, or the Northern Cross, cuts through the band of the Milky Way. As a result of this location, this constellation is host to a ton of galactic clouds of gas and dust (nebulae, as discussed elsewhere in this site). Near its brightest star Deneb (which is the head of the Cross or the tail of the Swan, depending on your point of view) lie nebulae that closely resemble their monikers: the North American Nebula (NGC 7000) and the Pelican Nebula (IC 5070).

Both nebulae belong to a large collection of gas and dust clouds lying along the disk of the Milky Way. Similar to other emission nebulae, NGC 7000 and IC 5070 are star-forming regions, and both have open clusters of stars already associated with and formed from them.

Oddly enough, the exact source of illumination for these nebulae has not yet been established. One of the current best guesses is a star (and not a very bright one from our perspective!) lying just off the "coast of Florida" near NGC 7000. It's not that the star is not very energetic or bright; it's likely that the star is simply cloaked or dramatically dimmed by an intervening dark cloud of dust (likely the source of the dark band between the two nebulae).

This is a "natural color" presentation of the nebulae as opposed to the narrowband "Hubble Palette" presentation I made back in 2006. The colors presented here are the colors we would perceive the nebulae if our eyes were sensitive enough to see these dim objects in full color.
Constellation: Cygnus
When Visible: July - December
Distance: 2,000 Light-years
Date: May - June 2013
Location: Rancho Hidalgo, Animas, NM
Exposure Details:
H-alpha: 9 x 30 minutes Binned 1x1
R: 13 x 10 minutes Binned 1x1
G: 13x 10 minutes Binned 1x1
B: 13 x 10 minutes Binned 1x1

11 Hours total exposure time.
Equipment Used:  Takahashi FSQ-106N on an Astro-Physics AP1200GTO mount. SBIG STL-11000 camera with 5-position filter wheel and Astrodon filters. Robofocus focuser. Externally guided with an SBIG Remote Guide Head on a Borg 50Ach refractor.
Acquisition Software:  MaximDL, TheSky6, CCDAutopilot
Processing Software: MaximDL, Photoshop CS5, IrFanView, HLVG Plugin, Carboni Actions