It took over a year of posting images before it finally happened! Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD) have chosen our picture of the nebulosity around the supergiant star Gamma Cygni as picture of the day – today!
Gamma Cygni lies at the center of the Northern Cross, famous asterism in the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Known by the proper name Sadr, the bright star Gamma Cygni lies at the center of this gorgeous skyscape, featuring a complex of stars, dust clouds, and glowing nebulae along the plane of our Milky Way galaxy.
The field of view of this image spans over 3 degrees (six Full Moons) of the sky and includes the huge (red) emission nebula IC 1318 and the little open star cluster NGC 6910.
Left of Sadr and shaped like two glowing cosmic wings divided by a long dark dust lane is the part of IC 1318 known as the Butterfly Nebula.
Above and left of Sadr, are the young, still tightly grouped stars of NGC 6910. Some distance estimates for Sadr place it at around 750 light-years while estimates for IC 1318 and NGC 6910 range from 2,000 to 5,000 light-years.