Thick blankets of dust surround the predominantly dark region in Barnard 343, a dark nebula in the constellation Cygnus.
Astrophotographer Jeffrey O. Johnson took this image from his backyard in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
"I took this image after I found the dark area when looking at a star map (Google Sky) and looking specifically for dark nebulae. I thought it was fascinating, though I never saw a clear image of it, so I decided to image it myself. It is still one of my favorite objects," Johnson wrote in an email to Space.com. [100 Amazing Night Sky Photos]
Barnard 343 belongs to the Gamma Cygni Complex – a group of clouds in Cygnus approximately 2,000 light-years away. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).
The brilliant red regions are caused by a large amount of hydrogen emissions present in the visible part of the spectrum. Johnson used a Takahashi TOA-130F @ f/7.7 telescope with a Takahashi EM200 Temma II Mount with a QSI 540wsg @ -15C camera.
You can see more amazing night sky photos by our readers in our astrophotography archive here.
Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share with us and our news partners for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for Space.com. She began writing and producing content for Space.com 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.