Amateur Astronomy Club

North America and Pelican Nebula – 16″ x 20″ – Aluminum

Photographer: Thomas Lucia

This is an 16 x 20″ picture on aluminum with a float mount (shown in picture) for easy wall hanging.

Like many glowing reddish-pink nebula, the North America Nebula is an HII region, a large cloud of hydrogen that’s ionized by hot stars embedded within the nebula. Astronomers once thought the brilliant star Deneb set this nebula aglow, but the very hot 6th-magnitude star HD 199579, one of the many stars buried within the nebula, is the culprit.  The remarkable shape of the nebula resembles that of the continent of North America, complete with a prominent Gulf of Mexico. The nebula is approximately 1,800 light years from earth and spans 100 light years in size.

The Pelican Nebula (also known as IC 5070 and IC 5067) is an H II region associated with the North America Nebula in the constellation Cygnus. The gaseous contortions of this emission nebula bear a resemblance to a pelican, giving rise to its name. The Pelican Nebula is located nearby first magnitude star Deneb, and is divided from its more prominent neighbor, the North America Nebula, by a foreground molecular cloud filled with dark dust. Both are part of the larger H II region of Westerhout 40.