This portion of the North America Nebula in the constellation – you guessed it – Cygnus, is a giant cloud of ionized gases where new stars are being created. It’s also pretty. These are both false color images, processed a couple of different ways. The first is the classic “Hubble Palette” that maps ionized emissions from Sulfur to red, Hydrogen to green, and Oxygen to blue. The second image where the cloud appears blue is the opposite – Oxygen is red, Hydrogen green, and Sulfur blue. In reality, the entire nebula appears red in visible wavelengths, but by imaging it through specialized filters, we can construct these more interesting views that tell us a little bit about its composition.
This image contains a few things! At the bottom is the Cone Nebula, at the upper-right is the “Fox Fur Nebula”, and in the middle is the “Christmas Tree” star cluster… you have to flip the image upside down to see that one. It’s a gorgeous region of active star formation in the constellation Monoceros….
That twisted-up galaxy at the top is NGC 3718. We don’t actually know if it’s a spiral or a lenticular galaxy, because the galaxy below it, NGC 3729, appears to have warped it beyond recognition when it passed by it. Also look for the cluster of five more distant galaxies just to the right of…
Our new home has clear views of the sky down to about 15 degrees from the horizon; which means some objects that are normally considered only visible from the Southern hemisphere just peek above our trees for a few hours. One such object is the galaxy Centaurus A; it’s an odd galaxy that looks like…
Part of our Local Group of galaxies, the Triangulum Galaxy (M33) is about 3 million light years away and the most distant object visible to the naked eye under dark skies.
Hope to revisit this under better conditions in the future; but this came out OK considering a bright moon was out the night it was taken. The Pinwheel Galaxy (M101) is near the end of the handle of the Big Dipper in the sky, although physically it is tens of millions of light-years more distant.