Observation by Graham Roberts: IC 1318 Butterfly Nebula

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Graham Roberts


Graham Roberts


2021 Sep 07 - 21:00


2021 Dec 21 - 12:48


The Gamma Cygni Nebula (IC1318)

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Field centre

RA: 20h25m
Dec: +40°11'
Position angle: -92°22'

Field size

2°29' × 1°53'

Target name



IC 1318 Butterfly Nebula

About this image

Located within the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy is the Gamma Cygni nebula, a diffuse emission nebula that surrounds the star of the same name, otherwise better known as Sadr.  Moreover, this large area forms part of a huge HII-region that is mainly (80%) located in the north and east quadrants of the so-called Cygnus Cross, which is defined by the stars Deneb – Sadr - Delta Cygni - Albireo - Aljanah.  This vast area passes directly high overhead at this time the year before disappearing behind the house roofline in the early morning hours and has already provided many exciting imaging opportunities for me in the past.  The heart (not the centre) of the region is the supergiant star Sadr and I first imaged this area in autumn 2015 using my modded DSLR camera.  A return visit was therefore long overdue and this time I set out to better capture the so-called Butterfly Nebula in narrowband wavelengths.

The resulting data has been processed to good effect as an SHO image using the Hubble Palette techniques.  Other than the dominant supergiant star Sadr and widespread colourful nebulosity, two significant features are worthy of note in the final image.  Either side of the dark rift which conspicuously divides the image from top to bottom are two large bright areas that together form the so-called Butterfly Nebula IC 1318-C (right = south) and IC 1318-B (left = north).  Furthermore, just beyond the Butterfly’s left wing north of Sadr is the young, bright open star cluster NGC 6910.

For imaging details please refer to my website here: https://watchthisspaceman.wordpress.com/2021/09/12/the-well-the-butterfly/


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