Backyard astronomy in the suburbs

Bird's nest in Cygnus

A few years ago I bought Sue French's latest book, Deep-Sky Wonders. There are some very intriguing objects which I want to observe, one of them the "Bird's Nest" in Cygnus. Last week I did a full night observing of open clusters in Cygnus. Here is a map of the observed objects (from SkySafari). The cluster NGC 6996 give's the location of the Bird's Nest.

As I live in a light polluted area (Bortle 5) I always was in doubt if I could find this birds nest at all. The Bird's Nest is situated on the edge of NGC 7000, the North America Nebula. I saw it on images many many times (here is an example from the website Pixabay). If you look closely you can see the Bird's Nest as a dark oval around an oval of stars on this image .

So on the 7th of september 2021, around 23:00 local time (Landgraaf Netherlands), NGC 7000 was near the zenith. To locate the Bird's Nest you can either try to find the dark nebula Barard 353, which forms the eastern border of the Bird's Nest, or you can locate it by finding the open cluster NGC 6996, which forms the southern part of the area called "Bird's Nest". I was out with mij 300mm Dobson. With the the 35mm Panoptic (magnification 46x, fov 1.5 degrees) the object was already pretty obvious. I never expected it to be so easy to see this visually. I clearly saw an oval, elongated group of stars, detached. With the 22mm Nagler (magn. 72x and fov 1.13 degree) I counted about 60 " Eggs" in the nest of the Swan. Very pretty sight. The southern part, NGC 6996 and the nortwestern part were a bit detached, I saw a more or less starless void in the middle of the nest. The northwesternpart looked elongated with a little asterism at its tip, looking like a small version of Cepheus, made up of 6 stars


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