This month we turn our gaze to a field of view about 7o square in the crooked-house of the constellation Cepheus. The field is a little smaller than your closed fist held at arm’s length. In the image above, captured in H-alpha with a small monochrome astronomy camera and a 90 mm lens, you see in this field a pair of spectacular emission nebulae, an embedded star cluster, half-dozen dark nebulae hiding regions of new star formation, and a blazing late-stage star on the verge of blowing itself to bits. [Read more…] about Star Factories in CepheusShare This:
Like many constellations along the arc of the Milky Way, the constellation Cygnus harbors an embarrassment of celestial riches. There’s everything here: emission nebula, supernova remnants, open star clusters, star clouds, and dark nebulae that reach like intertwined fingers over the bright and unresolved star clouds in this part of the sky. In dark sky, with a pair of binoculars or wide-field telescope, a contemplative stargazer can spend many happy hours hopping from object to object, wondering why more people turn their eyes skyward more often.
Which is what I was doing on a cool northern autumn night as I toured the celestial Swan, looking for a handful of pretty emission nebulae that radiate a deep red light and stand out along the rich star field in this part of the sky. These nebulae make ideal targets for urban stargazers like me because their contrast is readily enhanced with a good light pollution filter which passes their emission while reducing the effect of urban light pollution. The nebula doesn’t appear brighter, but it does have better contrast against fish-grey urban and suburban skies [Read more…] about Nebula Hopping in the Constellation CygnusShare This: