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Cygnus the Swan

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Cygnus the Swan

Cygnus is a constellation that straddles the Milky Way. It is visible high in the sky in the summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The white “clouds” are millions of unresolved distant stars, while the reddish objects are nebulae, huge glowing clouds of (mostly) hydrogen gas. The largest and brightest nebula, left of center, is named “The North America Nebula” because of its distinctive shape. Unfortunately, most of these beautiful nebula are invisible to the unaided eye and only show their magnificence in long exposure photographs.

This image was taken from the wonderful Cherry Springs dark-sky park in Pennsylvania on July 30, 2003. It is a combination of a 30 minute and a 45 minute exposure on Kodak Supra 400 film. It was taken through a 50mm lens.

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