Back to back nights with new moon darkness have been a real treat. I learned a lot… like not to try and clean my sensor when there is a caliche road anywhere within 500 miles and that you can never check your focus too often. This image of the Eastern Veil nebula suffers from some focus drift because I didn’t have everything nice and snug on my Crayford. Some of the images from this weekend are plagued by the mound of dust I introduced into my sensor. I started dithering for the first time. I am getting better at using FWHM (full width half maximum) focus… especially after losing hours of data to my inattention to this gremlin. Overall, it was just great to be out under the stars and feeling like I’m making progress. I’m grateful.
The Veil Nebula is a cloud of heated and ionized gas and dust in the constellation Cygnus. It constitutes the visible portions of the Cygnus Loop, a large but relatively faint supernova remnant. The source supernova exploded some 5,000 to 8,000 years ago, and the remnants have since expanded to cover an area roughly 3 degrees in diameter (about 6 times the diameter, or 36 times the area, of the full moon). The distance to the nebula is not precisely known, but Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) data supports a distance of about 1,470 light-years. The analysis of the emissions from the nebula indicate the presence of oxygen, sulfur, and hydrogen. This is also one of the largest, brightest features in the x-ray sky. This particular image is of the Eastern Veil (also known as Caldwell 33), whose brightest area is NGC 6992, trailing off farther south into NGC 6995 and IC 1340.