In cosmic brush strokes
of glowing hydrogen gas, this beautiful
skyscape unfolds across the plane of our
Milky Way Galaxy and
the center of the northern constellation
Cygnus the Swan.
Recorded from a premier remote observatory site
in southern France, the image spans about 6 degrees.
Bright supergiant star Gamma Cygni near image center
lies in the foreground of the complex gas and dust clouds
and crowded star fields.
Left of Gamma Cygni, shaped like two luminous wings divided by
a long dark dust lane is IC 1318, whose popular name
is understandably the
The more compact, bright nebula at the lower right is NGC 6888,
the Crescent Nebula.
Some distance estimates for Gamma Cygni place it at
around 750 light-years while estimates for IC 1318 and NGC 6888 range
from 2,000 to 5,000 light-years.
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