Telescope: Vixen ED80Sf
Camera: Canon 40D (modified)
Exposures: 8x300 seconds @ ISO1600, 20 Darks
Location: Mocksville, NC
Captured in Nebulosity, stacked using DeepSkyStacker, processed in Photoshop.
The North America Nebula is large, covering an area of more than four times the size of the full moon
, but its surface brightness is low so normally it cannot be seen with the unaided eye. Binoculars and telescopes with large fields of view (approximately 3°) will show it as a foggy patch of light under sufficiently dark skies. However, using a UHC filter
which filters out some unwanted wavelengths of light, it can be seen by the naked eye under dark skies. Its prominent shape and especially its reddish color (from the hydrogen
Hα emission line
) only show up in photographs of the area.
The North America Nebula and the nearby Pelican Nebula
, (IC 5070
) are in fact parts of the same interstellar cloud
of ionized hydrogen
(H II region
). Between the Earth and the nebula
complex lies a band of interstellar dust
that absorbs the light of stars
behind it and thereby is responsible for the shape as we see it. The distance of the nebula
complex is not precisely known, nor is the star responsible for ionizing the hydrogen so that it emits light. If the star inducing the ionization is Deneb
, as some sources say, the nebula complex would be about 1800 light years
distance, and its absolute size (6° apparent diameter on the sky) would be 100 light years.
Discovered by William Herschel
on October 24th 1786 from Slough England.