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The Cocoon Nebula and B168 by Luc Bellavance

Photo of the Week for September 7, 2018

The Cocoon Nebula and B168 by Luc BellavanceThe summer Milky Way is rich with deep-sky treasures—and there are even a few two-for-one fields. Here’s a good example in the constellation Cygnus. Most obvious object in the photo is the Cocoon Nebula, also known as IC5146. The nebula is a glowing cloud of hydrogen gas lit from within by a clutch of newborn stars. Object #2 is the lane of dark nebulosity called Barnard 168, which stretches from the IC5146 to the top-right corner of the image. If you have dark enough skies, B168 can be detected in binoculars, though glimpsing the Cocoon itself requires a narrow-band filter and moderately large optics.

Luc Bellavance of Rimouski, Quebec, captured the nebulous pair with a QHYCCD QHY168C imaging camera and a William Optics ZenithStar 80mm f/6.8 apochromatic refractor telescope. A total of 60, 5-minute exposures were combined for the final image.

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