Astronomy and Sky Website of Martin Lewis

Veil Nebula Region – Full Animation

This is a Gif animation where I have superimposed sketches I have made of the three brightest portions of the Cygnus Loop supernova remnant onto a long exposure photo of the same region.  The sketches have been resized, reorientated and carefully positioned to match the photo behind.

For more on the three sketches I made of this fascinating region of the heavens, please read on..

Sketches of the Individual Parts of the Veil Nebula

Below you will see a set of sketches that I have drawn of three separate portions of the vast area of supernova debris that lies in the constellation of Cygnus. This area, known as The Veil Nebula or Cygnus Loop, shows a huge amount of rich detail visible to the amateur astronomer observing under good skies, when equipped with a decent sized scope and using a suitable nebula filter.

I first observed this region through a 12″ reflector from COAA in the Algarve using a Lumicon OIII filter that I had just bought and was using for the first time.  The amazing amount of detail that I witnessed in the eyepiece was for me enough to justify the price of the filter on just that object alone.

The sketches below were based on observations made on three separate Kelling Heath Autumn Sky Camp sessions in Norfolk, UK, in Sept 2008, Sept 2009 and Sept 2010, under conditions of good or very good transparency.

The sketches were all made at the eyepiece of my 18″ Dobsonian, Fossil Light, equipped with a Lumicon OIII filter and various eyepieces (11mm, 16mm, 20mm and 26mm Naglers, plus a 24mm Panoptic), using the higher powers to bring out the finer details.  All sketches were made using lead pencil on paper and in each case the task was made possible by drawing the nebulosity seen in the eyepiece onto a printed page which showed just the background stars and which was generated in the planetarium program Guide 8.0.  Without this template as a definitive ‘frame’ to hang the nebulosity around,  the whole task would have been far too daunting to have been started.  The eyepiece sketch was worked up into the final sketch shortly afterwards, transferring the star positions and the main features of the nebulosity onto cartridge paper using a light-box.  The final worked-up sketch, pencil on cartridge paper, was then scanned and digitally inverted to produce a light-on-dark image which give a more realistic impression of what was seen in the eyepiece.  More details are given under each image.

Western Veil – Ngc6960

Ngc 6960. 26th Sept 2008. The western portion of the Veil around the bright star 52 Cygni is the brightest portion and well justifies its pseudonym, the Witches Broom. This was the first section of the Veil I had tackled and was based on observations using a 24mm Panoptic and a 11mm Nagler eyepiece with an OIII filter. Skies at the time were of limiting magnitude ~5.8-6.0

Eastern Veil – Ngc6992 & Ngc6995

Ngc 6992 & Ngc 6995. 18th and 19th Sept 2009. The eastern portion of the Veil is far more extensive than the western portion but its brightest parts are significantly dimmer. I find this far and away the most interesting section of the Veil. This portion represents the most ambitious deep sky sketch I have ever tackled, taking some 2.5hours to complete at the eyepiece and using two A4 templates to cover this vast region of sky. I used 20mm and 16mm Nagler eyepieces and an OIII filter. Skies were of limiting magnitude ~5.8-6.5

Pickering’s Triangle

Pickering’s Triangle. 11th Sept 2010. The final portion of the Veil that I sketched lies halfway between the larger eastern and much brighter western portions. This is the faintest and least well known part of the Veil, but is still readily visible in amateur scopes of reasonable size. I used a 26mm Nagler eyepieces and an OIII filter in my observations. Skies were of limiting magnitude ~6.4
Out of interest, here is another sketch of Pickerings Triangle executed on 5th october 2013 again with my 444mm Fossil Light scope usign a 26mm Nagler and OIII filter from Kelling Heath, N.Norfolk. Slightly more time was spent drawing this compared to the sketch in 2010 and I intend to swap this image for the one in the animation at the top of the page.