Deneb and Sadr, September 16, 2009. The central part of the constellation Cygnus is rich in stars, and light and dark nebulae. The Milky Way's galactic equator runs through the middle of this photograph, and it's a wonderful region to explore with binoculars or a telescope on a summer night. In the northern hemisphere, this part of the sky is high overhead during summer and early autumn.
The bright star just above the centre of the photograh is Sadr, at the heart of Cygnus the Swan. About halfway between Sadr and the left edge of the photograph is the brilliant star Deneb. Deneb and Sadr are the first and second brightest stars of Cygnus respectively. Below Deneb is the North America Nebula, shown slightlly on its side here. You can find it if you look for the "Gulf of Mexico." The pinkish glow comes from vast clouds of hydrogen. The dark areas are not gaps in the stars, but rather dark dust clouds that obscure the stars behind them. Deneb is about 1,550 light years away, with an estimated luminosity 60,000 times that of our Sun.
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