Now that the nights are getting longer, I decided to start observing from my backyard again. The sky is not very dark, but it is convenient to observe from home. A pair of UHC filters were all that I needed to start hunting for the North America Nebula. I always start from Deneb and turn slowly east, towards xi Cygni, until the 'little Orion' comes into view. It is the asterism that I marked in the sketch. Little Orion shows the way to the large but elusive North America Nebula. The most prominent feature is the 'coastline of the Gulf of Mexico', as if the nebula has a sharp border. This is the easiest-to-see-part of the nebula. The eastern and northern borders of NGC 7000 fade away gradually into the background, whereas the northern side reaches a vast star cloud. Here it is hard to tell which glow comes from the nebula and which comes from unresolved starlight. I was very pleased with this positive observation from my own backyard, given the fact that I could hardly detect the bowl of the little dipper with the naked eye.
PS: it might be necessary to dim the lights to detect the nebula on your monitor.
Site : Bekkevoort, Belgium
Date : September 8, 2012
Time : around 23.30 UT
Binoculars : Teleskop Service 90° 70mm binoculars
Magnification : 21.6x
Filters : UHC
Seeing : 4/5
Transp. : 4/5
Sky brightness : 19.79 magnitudes per square arc second near zenith (SQM reading).
Sketch Orientation: N up, W right.
Digital sketch made with Corel Paint Shop Pro X2, based on a raw pencil sketch.