North America Nebula

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The North America nebula is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus. It received its name because it resembles the North American continent. To see it, tilt your head to the left and look at the left portion of the red nebula. Florida and the Gulf of Mexico can be easily seen on the bottom. The nebula is actually about 4 times the size of the full moon in the sky, but because of its low surface brightness it is hard to spot outside of photographs. The exact distance of the nebula is not known but it is thought the bright star Deneb (brightest star in this image) is the star responsible for ionizing the gas. If this is the case, it’s approximately 1,800 light years away and 100 light years across in size.

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