Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2020 August 26
Explanation: In brush strokes of interstellar dust and glowing hydrogen gas, this beautiful skyscape is painted across the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy near the northern end of the Great Rift and the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Composed using 22 different images and over 180 hours of image data, the widefield mosaic spans an impressive 24 degrees across the sky. Alpha star of Cygnus, bright, hot, supergiant Deneb lies near top centre. Crowded with stars and luminous gas clouds Cygnus is also home to the dark, obscuring Northern Coal Sack Nebula, extending from Deneb toward the centre of the view. The reddish glow of star forming regions NGC 7000 and IC 5070, the North America Nebula and Pelican Nebulae, are just left of Deneb. The Veil Nebula is a standout below and left of centre. A supernova remnant, the Veil is some 1,400 light years away, but many other nebulae and star clusters are identifiable throughout the cosmic scene. Of course, Deneb itself is also known to northern hemisphere skygazers for its place in two asterisms -- marking the top of the Northern Cross and a vertex of the Summer Triangle.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.