The Swan And The Dark River

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Behold: the constellation of Cygnus near the northern end of the Great Rift, or ‘Dark River’: the cosmic dust clouds that normally obscure the centre of the Milky Way from our view. To wit:

Composed over a decade with 400 hours of image data, the broad mosaic spans an impressive 28×18 degrees across the sky. Alpha star of Cygnus, bright, hot, supergiant Deneb lies at the left. Crowded with stars and luminous gas clouds Cygnus is also home to the dark, obscuring Northern Coal Sack Nebula and the star forming emission regions NGC 7000, the North America Nebula and IC 5070, the Pelican Nebula, just left and a little below Deneb. Many other nebulae and star clusters are identifiable throughout the cosmic scene. Of course, Deneb itself is also known to northern hemisphere skygazers for its place in two asterisms, marking a vertex of the Summer Triangle, the top of the Northern Cross.

(Image: J-P Metsavainio (Astro Anarchy)

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