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On the wing of the Swan: The Veil Nebula
After three heat waves and weeks of hot and sunny weather in June and July, August brought nothing but clouds and rain. Last night however, from 23.00hrs until 00.30 (local time) large gaps started to appear in the cloud cover. The sky looked very transparent, so I got out my 20x80 binoculars and the 85mm Zeiss. I first scanned the Milky Way in Cygnus with the big binoculars, and the amount of stars visible was simply stunning, indeed a very clear and transparent sky.
I suddenly remembered an article I read in Zenit, a Dutch astronomy magazine. There I read an article on observing objects in Cygnus with some wonderful sketches from Fred Hissink, a very experienced deep sky observer from the Netherlands. He had observed (and made a sketch) of NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula. He used an 80mm Megrez 80II ED and an OIII filter. If he could observe the Crescent nebula with an 80mm, the Veil Nebula, also known as Cygnus Loop or Cirrus Nebula, shouldn’t be a problem for my 85mm Zeiss. I got out the 32mm Televue Plossl and the Lumicon OIII filter, scanned the area around 52 Cygnus and there it was, the Veil nebula. The eastern part of the Veil, NGC 6992-95, was clearly with direct vision, thanks to the OIII. The western part, NGC 6960, which is situated around a bright star, Cygnus 52, took a little longer to detect. After barely suspecting it at first sight, I could detect a small part of the nebulosity using averted vision and adding a little movement to the small refractor. If the western part would have been visible with direct vision, the whole Cygnus loop would have fitted into the 3.2-degree field of view nicely. The Cygnus loop has a diameter of 6 full Moons.

As I mentioned earlier, the whole nebulosity is called Cygnus Loop, Cirrus Nebula or Veil Nebula. To add a little to the confusion, according to Stephen James O’Meara, the eastern segment, consisting of NGC 6992-95 (and IC 1340), is also known as the Network Nebula, the western segment as the Filamentary Nebula. Anyway, whatever the name, it is a beautiful object and I can’t wait for my new 12-inch dob to arrive and have a look at the Veil! I can only say get out there and have a good look at this celestial treasure. For me, visual observing and the aesthetic beauty of all the different objects is the main reason why I’m into amateur astronomy, and the Veil is one of my favorites. Even under light polluted skies this wonderful nebula can be seen even with a small telescope and the right filter.

Below you find a finder chart and a more detailed chart that should give you an idea what the size of the object is in a 3-degree field of view (like my Zeiss with the 32mm plossl). Click on the images to enlarge. Both images have been made with SkyTools2 from CapellaSoft.



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Posted by Math on 08/20 at 02:54 PM
Deepsky log • (3) CommentsPermalink

Congrats Math for your Veil observing session.

I agree with you: Veil is one of the most beautiful objects in the summer sky. I had the opportunity of observing it last June with my 12inch GSO Dobsonian and Astronomik OIII filter and ... wow !!! it was impressive despite I have already seen both sectors of the nebula in my other “less aperture” scopes.

You will be hooked with the view through the 12inch reflector because light gathered by this little-monster is the point to get the Veil in its whole splendor.

Let us know about your views thorugh your new scope and remember to achive a good collimation for best results.

Posted by Julio Cesar  on  08/21  at  05:54 AM

Hi Julio,

Thanks for the comment. You bet I will let you know when I have observed the Veil with the 12-inch. By the way, you use the Astronomik OIII filter. I already have a Lumicon OIII and Lumicon UHC filter. I was thinking about buying a H-Beta filter from either Astronomik or Lumicon. Are you satisfied with the Astronomik filters?

Clear Skies
Math

Posted by Math  on  08/21  at  10:50 AM

Certainly I am Math. I own the 4 “standard” nebula filters from Astronomik, including the H-Beta and I’m very happy with their performance. However I have to say that I never had a chance to compare them against other brands. I decided on Astronomik because the coatings on their filters are strong enough to clean them periodically without any problem nor damage. I heard about problems with coatings in the early Lumicons.

Posted by Julio Cesar  on  08/22  at  03:27 AM

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