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Rosette Nebula (NGC 2244) & North American Nebula (NGC 7000)
Genna Danahy & Amanda Skowbo

Rosette Nebula North American Nebula
Rosette Nebula - Genna Danahy North American Nebula - Amanda Skowbo

Nebulae are a cloud of gas and dust that is visible in outer space. The different colors you view tell astronomers what types of gasses are present in different nebulae. Both Rosette and North American Nebulae are emission or ionization nebulae. Emission nebulae are gas and dust energized by hot-newly formed stars. Emission nebulae give off photos emitting the colored light astronomers can view. The term nebula was originally used to describe any spread-out stellar object, which included galaxies.

The Rosette Nebula is about 5000 light-years away from Earth, has a radius of 65 light years, and is named after its flower-like appearance. NGC 2244 is the most famous nebula and is located in a large, molecular cloud in the Monoceros constellation. There is a star cluster in the central cavity of the Rosette Nebula that contains hot, young stars. The structure of the nebula is formed by the winds these stars give off. They push the gas and dust away from the central cavity, which is 50 light years in diameter. There are only about 160 stars located in the central cavity of this nebula and they are only a few million years old, which is indicated by the luminous, blue appearance. The nebula itself is very red. Scientists have concluded that presence of Hydrogen gas is what gives this emission nebula its red color. The Hydrogen that is present is emitting photons that have an energy equivalency of red light.

The North American nebula is an emission nebula found in the Cygnus constellation (or the Swan) and can be found in the night sky by locating the Deneb star. Astronomers can only view this nebula by using a telescope or binoculars, as it is too dim to view with the naked eye. This nebula is famous, as it appears to have the continent of North America in the gas cloud. The North American Nebula is mainly red in color allowing astronomers to known the abundance of hydrogen gas (which emit red photons) found in this nebula. Scientist are not aware of the exact distance of this nebula or the star that ionized this nebula. However, they are aware of the neighboring nebula, the Pelican Nebula (IC 5070) that are part of the same emission cloud and nebula complex that measure together 50 light-years across and are about 1500 to 1800 light years away. The Pelican and North American Nebulae are separated by a dark absorption cloud.

Both the North American and Rosette Nebulae are composed of Hydrogen. This is seen in the vivid red color. They are also both emission nebulae, so they are key producers of stars in their given areas. Both Nebulae are extremely large in size and are located in the northern sky. Within the Rosette and North American Nebulae there are stars that can be seen with binoculars from earth.

Although there nebulae have a lot in common, they are located in different constellations. Rosette is located in the Monoceros constellation and North American is located in the Cygnus constellation. Because the Rosette nebula is much more famous than the North American Nebula, astronomers have studied it more and know more about it. The North American Nebula has a neighboring nebula, while the Rosette does not. The Rosette nebula has a very defined star cluster, unlike the North American. These Nebulae are different because they are formed and shaped by different star clusters. The Rosette Nebula gets its shape from the winds of the star cluster, while astronomers are unsure of what causes the shape of the Nebula. Like stated before, both Nebulae are extremely large, but due to the properties of the North American Nebula, not many facts are known about it.


Bennett, Jeffery, Megan Donahue, Nicholas Schneider, and Mark Voit. The Cosmic Perspective Fundamentals. 2nd ed., Pearson, 2016, pp. 183-89.

Chandra X-Ray Center. Chandra X-Ray Observatory, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 8 Sept. 2010. Accessed 15 Nov. 2016.

Constellation Guide June 2013. Accessed 16 Nov. 2016.

Nemiroff, Robert, and Jerry Bonnell. Astronomy Picture of the Day, NASA Administrator, Feb. 2012. Accessed 15 Nov. 2016

The Rosette Nebula / NASA, NASA Administrator, 31 July 2015. Accessed 15 Nov. 2016

Ventrudo, Brian. The "North American" Nebula, One-Minute Astonomer, 24 July 2012. Accessed 15 Nov. 2016.

Ware, Jason. Astronoy Picture of the Day: The North American Nebula, NASA, 1 May 2000. Accessed 15 Nov. 2016.

Wikipedia. “Emission Nebula

Wikipedia. “Nebula

Wikipedia. “North American Nebula

Wikipedia. “Rosette Nebula

Object Rosette Nebula North American Nebula
Right Ascension (J2000) 06:32:44 20:59:14
Declination (J2000) +05:11:26 +43:38:59
Filters used B (Blue), C (Clear), R (Red), V (Green) B (Blue), C (Clear), R (Red), V (Green)
Exposure time per filter B (133s x 3); V and R (50s x 3); C (170s x 3) B (133s x 3); V and R (50s x 3); C (170s x 3)
Image dimension 1051x691 pixels; 22.8x15.0 arcminutes 1038x669 pixels; 22.5x14.5 arcminutes
Date/time observed October 15, 2016, 12:11 UT October 7, 2016, 06:33 UT



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