FromQuarkstoQuasars

Astronomy Photo of the Day: 5/21/14 – Northern Cross

Image Credit: Rolf Geissinger
Image Credit: Rolf Geissinger

The glorious image effectively conveys the intricacies of the fierce nebulae brewing in the Northern Cross; the famous asterism found in the constellation known as Cygnus.

There are many objects of interest here; hiding out in plain site, but first and foremost, we have Deneb. This stellar heavy-weight, which is most prominent point of light within the Northern Cross region, is both unimaginably hot and extremely bright. Leading away from Deneb, we have Sadr (seen near the center). An invisible, diagonal line connects Deneb and Sadr to another lone star in the upper-right, dubbed Albireo  (unless you have a great imagination, the line is going to be hard to see. Click here to see it, along with all the other objects in the region, labelled).

And those objects listed above are just the stars. The Northern Cross is also the home of several well-known celestial sites, which include the Butterfly nebula, the Veil nebula, the Crescent nebula, the Pelican nebula, the Northern Coal-Sack and the North American nebula.

All of the Northern Cross nebulosities are situated about 2,000 light-years away from Earth in the Orion spiral arm of our galaxy.

See a larger image here. Click here to see this region from a different perspective.

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