The Cygnus Wall is a ridge of star-forming gas and dust about 20 million light-years long in the North American Nebula. Like a mountain range carved by the erosion of water and wind, the Cygnus Wall is shaped by the energetic radiation of the young, hot stars nearby. The dark shapes that snake through the ridge are cooled gases and dust, the birth place of new stars. The data for this image were collected in only two sessions. While the nights were clear, the atmosphere was variable and unstable which results in fuzzy pictures. Only about half of the exposures I collected were used to make this image. This is one of my favorite deep-sky objects with its craggy spine and the dusty veil sweeping across the middle of the ridge. I really like the pronounced three-dimensionality of this object created by the juxtaposition of shadow and color caused by the layers of gases. For me its appearance marks the beginning of the summer astro season.
11.1 hours total exposure of ionized hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur emissions