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Cygnus Wall, 


            Gary Lopez
Cygnus Wall

Technical card

Resolution: 3254x4304

Dates:July 10, 2019July 13, 2019

Astrodon Ha 3nm-31mm: 147x180" (gain: 200.00) -15C bin 1x1
Astrodon OIII 3nm-31mm: 37x180" (gain: 200.00) -15C bin 1x1
Astrodon SII 3nm-31mm: 38x180" (gain: 200.00) -15C bin 1x1

Integration: 11.1 hours

Darks: ~30

Bias: ~50

Avg. Moon age: 10.00 days

Avg. Moon phase: 75.07%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 5.00 job: 2798440

RA center: 314.811 degrees

DEC center: 43.672 degrees

Pixel scale: 0.862 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 10.100 degrees

Field radius: 0.646 degrees

Locations: Monterey Pines Observatory, Monterey, California, United States

Data source: Backyard


The Cygnus Wall is a ridge of star-forming gas and dust about 20 million light-years long in the North American Nebula, NGC 7000. Like a mountain range carved by the erosion of water and wind, the Cygnus Wall is shaped by the energetic radiation of the young, hot stars nearby. The dark shapes that snake through the ridge are cooled gases and dust, the birth place of new stars.

The data for this image were collected in only two sessions. While the nights were clear, the atmosphere was variable, leading to a collection of light subs with HFR’s ranging from a low of 1.78 to a high of 4.67. I assembled the subs in the categories according to the emission spectra (Ha, OIII, and SII) and their HFR, and processed each category separately. I created a master luminance using Ha and SII (which had the best structure signals) using only subs with an HFR of <2.3 and a concomitant star count. Version A is a nearly full acquisition frame and a processing approach intended to enhance 3-D depth. Version C is a tighter, more compositionally balanced crop with more subdued, less saturated colors. I can't decide with I prefer.

This is one of my favorite DSO's with its craggy spine and the dusty veil sweeping across the middle of the ridge. I really like the pronounced three-dimensionality of this object created by the juxtaposition of shadow and color caused by the layers of gases. For me its appearance marks the beginning of the summer astro season.



Gary Lopez
License: None (All rights reserved)


  • Final
    Cygnus Wall, 


            Gary Lopez
  • Cygnus Wall, 


            Gary Lopez


An alternative version with tighter crop and less saturated colors.

Sky plot

Sky plot


Cygnus Wall, 


            Gary Lopez