Explanation: In brush strokes of interstellar dust and glowing hydrogen gas, this beautiful skyscape is painted across the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy near the northern end of the Great Rift and the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Composed using 22 different images and over 180 hours of image data, the widefield mosaic spans an impressive 24 degrees across the sky. Alpha star of Cygnus, bright, hot, supergiant Deneb lies near top center. Crowded with stars and luminous gas clouds Cygnus is also home to the dark, obscuring Northern Coal Sack Nebula, extending from Deneb toward the center of the view. The reddish glow of star forming regions NGC 7000 and IC 5070, the North America Nebula and Pelican Nebulas, are just left of Deneb. The Veil Nebula is a standout below and left of center. A supernova remnant, the Veil is some 1,400 light years away, but 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 the top of the Northern Cross and a vertex of the Summer Triangle.
Tomorrow’s picture: peculiar galaxies