Stargazer Captures Amazing Close-up of Butterfly Nebula (Photo)

Gamma Cygni Nebula - Hancock
Astrophotographer Terry Hancock took this image as part of his mosaic of the Gamma Sygni region. (Image credit: Terry Hancock | Down Under Observatory)

This stunning image is part of the diffuse emission Gamma Cygni nebula, otherwise known as The Butterfly Nebula.

Astrophotographer Terry Hancock took this image as part of his mosaic of the Gamma Cygni region. The image was taken from his backyard observatory in Fremont, Michigan on May 29. "We have had some wonderful clear skies over here in West Michigan in the past week," Hancock wrote in an email to

In this image, one can see the Gamma Cygni Nebula or IC1318A in the upper left. The namesake star of the region, the Gamma Cygni, sit amid the constellation of Cygnus the Swan. Although it sits at a distance of 1,800 light-years, this young star is an extremely bright supergiant. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers). [Amazing Night Sky Photos for June]

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Hancock used a QHY11S monochrome CCD cooled to -20 C and a Takahashi E-180 F2.8 Astrograph on a Paramount GT-1100S German Equatorial Mount to take the image. Multiple exposures are made to collect enough light for an image that would otherwise not be evident to the eye.

Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at

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Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for She began writing and producing content for in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.