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Dark Nebula Glows Red in Amateur Astronomer's Photo

Barnard 343 by Jeffrey Johnson
Astrophotographer Jeffrey O. Johnson took this image from his backyard in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
(Image: © Jeffrey O. Johnson )

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 spacephotos@space.com.

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