The North American Nebula is easy to recognize
by its resemblance to our continent, with Mexico,
the Caribbean, and Florida clearly recognized.
This geographic shape is of course just
coincidence. From a dark sky site, I have
observed the distinct shape of this large faint
nebula with the aid of special nebula filters, that
darken the background sky. The nebula lies at a
distance of 1,800 light years in the constellation
Cygnus, and spans a region 50 light years across.
This image on the left combined 2 hours 20
minutes exposure though a red filter with 40
minutes of green and 60 minutes of blue
exposures. I used a Takahashi 90mm refractor
with a reducer to yield a focal length of about
400mm, with an QSI-583 camera.
The photo below includes a wider area of both the
North American Nebula and tthe Pelican Nebula.
Both nebula are actually the same cloud of
hydrogen gas with the intervening region darkened
by obscuring interstellar dust. The Pelican faces
the North American Nebula, with its large beak
pointing towards the Yukatan Peninsula. A more
detailed image of the Pelican Nebula is on the next
This photo below was taken with a Pentax
135mm f2.5 telephoto lens, Kodak 1000 film, and
a 20 minute exposure.
Music: Coming to
America, by Neil Diamond