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Cosmic Challenge: North America Nebula (NGC 7000)

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#1 PhilH

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 05:14 PM

The North America Nebula (NGC 7000) is a large expanse of glowing hydrogen gas mixed with opaque clouds of cosmic dust just 3° east of Deneb [Alpha (α) Cygni] and 1° to the west of 4th-magnitude Xi (ξ) Cygni. Famous as one of the most luminous blue supergiants visible in the night sky, Deneb marks the tail of Cygnus the Swan, or if you prefer, the top of the Northern Cross asterism.

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#2 Astrojensen

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 05:58 PM

NGC 7000 a challenge? Certainly not from dark skies, where common binoculars show it nicely, but I can see it being a challenge from light polluted areas. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark


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#3 Astro-Master

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 07:16 PM

My Stellarvue 60mm finder with a Nagler 13mm plus a 1.25" O III filter gives a power of 17x and a field of 4.7.*  It frames the Neb nicely from a dark site.


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#4 deepwoods1

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 07:38 PM

It’s certainly a challenge from where most observers live. I still haven’t seen it from the Connecticut suburbs.



#5 Tyson M

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Posted 03 September 2018 - 01:30 PM

I have yet to see this surprisingly, although in the area often in summer and at a dark site. I'll have to look closer and with a wider fov.



#6 Astrojensen

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Posted 03 September 2018 - 02:09 PM

One wonders why it took so long before it became known as a visual deep-sky object. I've seen it quite a few times through a 63mm Zeiss achromat with a 40mm huygenian eyepiece, yielding 21x and a 2° field of view. Such a scope/eyepiece combination has been available since the days of Messier...! It is rather easy in this combination, if the skies are dark. No filter is needed. It is FAR easier to see than the Veil and Rosette with this scope and eyepiece. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark


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#7 Lance123

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Posted 03 September 2018 - 05:49 PM

While I can see a lot from my backyard observatory, this remains elusive, the light pollution drowns it out. I can see it from a remote dark site though. 



#8 Sasa

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 02:59 AM

One wonders why it took so long before it became known as a visual deep-sky object. I've seen it quite a few times through a 63mm Zeiss achromat with a 40mm huygenian eyepiece, yielding 21x and a 2° field of view. Such a scope/eyepiece combination has been available since the days of Messier...! It is rather easy in this combination, if the skies are dark. No filter is needed. It is FAR easier to see than the Veil and Rosette with this scope and eyepiece. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark

This is (almost) exactly how I saw it the very first night with a telescope that was given to me by a friend. For that occasion I went to my darker-site observatory. It was a telescope from his youth, with very basic OTA but with fantastic lens, C63/840. The same one as in Telementor. There was no way how to attach my 40mm Kellner other than to hold it pressed against the focuser. By far this was my best view of NGC7000, the shape was so obvious. I don't remember seeing such nice silk-like nebulosity. On the way from Deneb to NGC7000, I easily noticed another nebular patch. It took me few seconds to realize that this was the head of Pelican nebula.

 

It must have been an exceptional night. I have never saw NGC7000 that nicely, before of after. Neither in Telementor or in other of my scopes, despite looking at NGC7000 several times per season.

 

From our light polluted backyard, I feel lucky if I can sense the outlines of Mexican Gulf.

 

As for naked eye observation. I looked at NGC7000 on various  occasions. There is definitely some brightening in this region but I was never able to convince myself that what I saw was the nebula and not just some brighter patch in Milky Way.



#9 PhilH

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 03:48 AM

Thanks for all of the comments!  Some are mentioning about its visibility through telescopes, which is great.  But the challenge presented here is to see it naked eye -- which personally I find to be easier than through many telescopes.

 

The trick is to know what to look for.  The NA Nebula does look like a slightly brighter patch of the Milky Way adjacent to Deneb.  The giveaway is noticing the arc of the "Gulf of Mexico."  If you see that, then congratulations, you've nabbed it.

 

Sasa also mentioned the Pelican Nebula.  That's a great binocular challenge.  Maybe I'll hold on to that one until next summer.


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#10 TieDyeAstronomer

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 07:43 PM

I've looked for the North American Nebula with the naked eye from dark skies before, both from Texas Star Party, and from a site in the Ozarks with some of the best skies that I've seen outside of TSP (Bortle 3). I have never been able to suspect it.

 

However, I have been able to quite clearly see the shape of the North American Nebula, complete with Central America and the Gulf of Mexico-- but it's not the nebula at all, rather the rich star cloud to the northeast of Deneb. I know this for two reasons: the observed object is too large (as Phil says in the article, the nebula is deceptively small), and the "gulf" of this illusionary cloud faces east instead of south.

I mention this so that others who go looking for it with the naked eye know what to be aware of. The nebula should not appear 3-4+ degrees across! 31 and 32 Cyg, the wide double just on the other side of Deneb, should make a good yardstick. The size of the "Gulf of Mexico" of the real nebula should only be about 3/4th the distance between 31 and 32 Cyg, maximum. The best test is probably just to see if the Gulf of Mexico faces south (real) or east (star cloud). If you do observe the nebula with the naked eye, please share your observing report! I'd like to hear under what conditions the real thing is visible.

 

Here is a screenshot from the Photopic Sky Survey website (http://media.skysurv...e360/index.html) showing the false-nebula shape of the starcloud outlined:

KX7EnsC.png

Clear Skies!

Lauren Herrington


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#11 deepwoods1

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Posted 06 September 2018 - 01:22 AM

24hrs ago was some of the clearest skies I’ve had all summer. Mag 5 stars visible. Bottle 5. Milky Way bright and M31 as a smudge. As mentioned in the above post though, I’m not sure I could make out the difference between the star field and any perceived nebula. Using binoculars allowed me to convince myself that I can glimpse it in my 9x63’s, but I had to use charts and online images to confirm. Very faint, requiring averted vision. Quite a challenge for me even with binoculars! Did see numerous meteors including a very nice fireball with fragmentation! Clear and steady skies.......


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#12 PhilH

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Posted 06 September 2018 - 04:12 AM

I've looked for the North American Nebula with the naked eye from dark skies before, both from Texas Star Party, and from a site in the Ozarks with some of the best skies that I've seen outside of TSP (Bortle 3). I have never been able to suspect it.

 

However, I have been able to quite clearly see the shape of the North American Nebula, complete with Central America and the Gulf of Mexico-- but it's not the nebula at all, rather the rich star cloud to the northeast of Deneb. I know this for two reasons: the observed object is too large (as Phil says in the article, the nebula is deceptively small), and the "gulf" of this illusionary cloud faces east instead of south.

I mention this so that others who go looking for it with the naked eye know what to be aware of. The nebula should not appear 3-4+ degrees across! 31 and 32 Cyg, the wide double just on the other side of Deneb, should make a good yardstick. The size of the "Gulf of Mexico" of the real nebula should only be about 3/4th the distance between 31 and 32 Cyg, maximum. The best test is probably just to see if the Gulf of Mexico faces south (real) or east (star cloud). If you do observe the nebula with the naked eye, please share your observing report! I'd like to hear under what conditions the real thing is visible.

 

Here is a screenshot from the Photopic Sky Survey website (http://media.skysurv...e360/index.html) showing the false-nebula shape of the starcloud outlined:

KX7EnsC.png

Clear Skies!

Lauren Herrington

Thanks, Lauren!  Great point about the faux NA Nebula.  Honestly, I hadn't noticed it, but you're right.  It looks to be quite a bit larger than the real thing.  Plus, it's flipped!

 

BTW, when I saw your post last night, I think for a second we might be related.  (Harrington vs. Herrington)  :-)  Bet there's a common lineage somewhere way back when.


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#13 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 07 September 2018 - 02:02 PM

Sasa also mentioned the Pelican Nebula.  That's a great binocular challenge.  Maybe I'll hold on to that one until next summer.

I've seen IC 5070 and IC 5067 (the Pelican Nebula) a number of times through binoculars and filtered rich-field telescopes but only from very dark sites.

https://astrobackyar...pelican-nebula/

 

Dave Mitsky


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#14 PhilH

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Posted 08 September 2018 - 02:41 AM

I've seen IC 5070 and IC 5067 (the Pelican Nebula) a number of times through binoculars and filtered rich-field telescopes but only from very dark sites.

Dave,

 

If there is a BOO program at Stellafane next year, you can bet that the Pelican will be on it.  Saw it through my Fuji 16x70s fairly distinctly this year.


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#15 paulsky

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Posted 08 September 2018 - 09:26 AM

My Zeiss 7x50 ( II World War Era ) is a fantastic binocular in a dark sky environements, and the NA is a beauty object, as for naked eye observation I could guess !!

thanks Phil for the interesting "challenges".

Paul


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#16 Bill_H

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 08:52 PM

May be going up to my folks' place in East Texas soon. Will try to spot it from there. Thanks again, Phil!


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#17 Eddgie

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 08:56 PM

I've looked for the North American Nebula with the naked eye from dark skies before, both from Texas Star Party, and from a site in the Ozarks with some of the best skies that I've seen outside of TSP (Bortle 3). I have never been able to suspect it.

 

KX7EnsC.png

Clear Skies!

Lauren Herrington

I have seen something there from Bortle 2 and 3 skies with naked eye, and absolutely no doubt of the sighting because I could see it in my image intensified monocular easily and position was the same.

 

The difference though was profound.   I did not detect a definable shape with the naked eye.  I saw only a faint patch of light at the very edge of my detection threshold, with a somewhat suggestive outline shape of the real object.  The gulf region was not at all resolved as a true shape with the naked eye (in my own case, and this is not to say at all that anyone that reports seeing it did not see it.. I tend to take people at their word, and this object has been reported enough that it is pretty credible if people say they saw more than I see, but I don't see much there.   Very poor target for naked eye.  Absolutely a threshold object for me.  Not a chance really of seeing much more than the faintest possible glow, and maybe that is simply the stars in the nebula playing a trick on me (there are a lot of Mag 7 and Mag 8 stars inside the borders). 

 

In the night vision monocular of course it is a pretty epic sight because the entire area around it is also very rich with nebula. The entire region of nebula around it and including it that I can see at 1x under dark sky is approximately 8 degrees running WSW to ESE and about 5 degrees across this axis.  It is a giant patch of nebula of which Pelican and NA simply happen to be brighter than the background of extensive glowing gas.

 

I have seens something there though but again, it really did not show much in the way of structure with naked eye, and I did not use a filter.  Just looked up.   Conditions were again Bortle 2 and Bortle 3, and in both cases, NA was very near zenith. 

 

Using NV, I can of course see it easily from my red zone sky but the stunning richness of nebula around it is greatly muted. Even with image intensifiers, there is no substitute for dark skies.


Edited by Eddgie, 17 September 2018 - 09:05 PM.

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