IC1318 - The Gamma Cygni Nebula

The Gamma Cygni nebula consists of the various pink patches which can be seen surrounding Gamma Cygni - the bright star in the middle of this photograph. Gamma Cygni is actually not part of this nebula, it is a foreground star located half way between us and the nebula. We are looking deep into the Orion Arm of our Galaxy in this direction and the nebula is more than 3000 light years from us.

IC 1318 - The Gamma Cygni Nebula
The Gamma Cygni Nebula. Image size: 5.6x4.7. DSS image. © CalTech/Palomar

The Nebulae associated with the Gamma Cygni Nebula

This is a list of the principal nebulae in this region. The Gamma Cygni nebula, IC 1318, has three bright patches (parts A, B and C,) and they each have a diameter of about 50 light years. The Crescent nebula (NGC 6888) consists of some shells of gas energised by a very energetic Wolf-Rayet star. NGC 6914 is a small reflection nebula in this region.

   1              2              3          4     5       6      7        8
Catalogue    Equatorial      Galactic     Size   Type Distance Size  Other Names
Number       Coordinates    Coordinates (arcmins)       (ly)   (ly)
            RA (2000) Dec     l     b
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NGC 6888   20 12.1  +38 21   75.5   +2.4    18'   E     4100     20  Crescent nebula 
IC 1318A   20 16.6  +41 49   78.8   +3.6    50'   E     3700     55  Gamma Cygni nebula
NGC 6914   20 24.7  +42 29   80.2   +2.8     5'   R     3700      5  
IC 1318B   20 26.5  +40 18   78.7   +1.2    50'   E     3700     55  Gamma Cygni nebula
IC 1318C   20 28.7  +39 54   78.6   +0.7    40'   E     3700     45  Gamma Cygni nebula
Column 1: The standard catalogue name for the nebula.
Column 2: Right Ascension and Declination for epoch 2000.
Column 3: Galactic Longitude (l) and Latitude (b).
Column 4: Angular size of the nebula in arcminutes.
Column 5: Nebula type: E = emission, R = reflection.
Column 6: Approximate distance to the nebula.
Column 7: Approximate size of the nebula in light years.
Column 8: Alternative name of the nebula.

Star clusters associated with the Gamma Cygni Nebula

These are the star clusters which are most closely associated with the Gamma Cygni nebula. NGC 6910 and M29 (NGC 6913) are the two brightest star clusters in this region, and both of these star clusters formed in this nebula.

   1                  2              3          4        5       6          7
Catalogue        Equatorial      Galactic     Size   Distance   Age    Other Names
Name             Coordinates    Coordinates (arcmins)  (ly)  (million
                RA (2000) Dec     l    b                     years)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IC 4996        20 16.5  +37 38   75.4  +1.3     6'     5650       9
Collinder 419  20 18.1  +40 43   78.1  +2.8     4'       ?        ?
Dolidze 42     20 19.8  +38 08   76.1  +1.1     7'     3150      35
Berkeley 86    20 20.5  +38 42   76.7  +1.3     6'     3650      13
Berkeley 87    20 21.8  +37 22   75.7  +0.3    10'     2050      14
NGC 6910       20 23.3  +40 47   78.7  +2.0    10'     3700      13
Collinder 421  20 23.4  +41 42   79.5  +2.5     7'       ?        ?
NGC 6913       20 24.0  +38 31   76.9  +0.6    10'     3750      13    M29
Column 1: The standard catalogue name for the cluster.
Column 2: Right Ascension and Declination for epoch 2000.
Column 3: Galactic Longitude (l) and Latitude (b).
Column 4: Angular size of the cluster in arcminutes.
Column 5: Distance to the cluster.
Column 6: Approximate age of the cluster in millions of years.
Column 7: Alternative name of the cluster.

References: Dias W, Alessi B, Moitinho A, Lpine J, (2002). New catalogue of optically
            visible open clusters and candidates. Astron and Astrophys, 389, 871.

A Map of the Gamma Cygni Nebula

This is a map of the star clusters and nebulae in this region. There are a lot of nebulae (bright and dark) in this part of the sky because we are looking deep into our Galaxy in this direction. The region from IC 1318A to IC 1318C extends across 200 light years of space. The relatively dark region in the top-left area of this map is sometimes known as the Northern Coalsack (Barnard 348).

A map of the Gamma Cygni Nebulae

The location of the Gamma Cygni Nebula

The location of the Gamma Cygni Nebulae The Gamma Cygni nebula is located in the Orion Arm of the Galaxy. If we assume that the two brightest star clusters in this region belong to this nebula then the distance to the Gamma Cygni nebula is about 3700 light years.

NGC 6888 - The Crescent Nebula

The Crescent Nebula is a famous nebula in this region. The nebula consists of shells of gas that are being energized by the strong stellar wind from the Wolf-Rayet star WR 136, the bright star at the center of the nebula. Wolf-Rayet stars are very hot, massive stars that are blowing off their outer layers. The nebula has a length of about 20 light years.

NGC 6888 - The Crescent Nebula
The Crescent Nebula. Image size: 0.37x0.29. DSS image. © CalTech/Palomar
The Orion arm Back to the Orion Arm page