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Monday, March 21, 2011

The Gamma Cygni Nebula and NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula

The Gamma Cygni Nebula and NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula
Click on the image for full resolution (3.3 MB)

Gamma Cygni (γ Cyg, γ Cygni) is a magnitude 2.2 star in the constellation Cygnus. It has the traditional name Sadr (also spelled Sadir or Sador). This star is surrounded by a diffuse nebula called IC 1318, or the Gamma Cygni Nebula. The Gamma Cygni Nebula, or Gamma Cygni Region, consists of the various pink patches which can be seen surrounding Gamma Cygni - the bright star in the middle of this DSS2 photo. Gamma Cygni is actually not part of this nebula, it is a foreground star located half way between us and the nebula. We are looking deep into the Orion Arm of our Galaxy in this direction and the nebula is more than 3000 light years from Earth.
The Gamma Cygni Nebula, IC 1318, has three bright patches (parts A, B and C,) and they each have a diameter of about 50 light years. NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula, visible at the lower right of the picture, consists of some shells of gas energised by a very energetic Wolf-Rayet star. NGC 6914 is a small reflection nebula in this region. It is visible near the small "blue blobs" at the top of the image.
The full resolution image weighs 3.3 MB, so please be patient when downloading!
Credit: Caltech/DSS2/Wikisky.org;
Processing: Jean-Baptiste Faure

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