Shining overhead on northern summer nights right now is the blue supergiant star Deneb, in Cygnus. Nearby glow the magenta clouds of the North America Nebula.
This image shot with a telephoto lens takes in roughly the same field of view as a pair of binoculars. But being a long time exposure it reveals much more of the faint nebula than even the aided eye can see. However, even binoculars will show a greyish cloud near Deneb in roughly the shape of North America. It is actually a continent of stars and hydrogen gas, glowing with hydrogen’s characteristic magenta colour, a mix of deep red and blue emission lines. The gas may be electrified into glowing by the searing radiation from the star Deneb, some 1400 light years away from Earth.
I shot this on a July night, with some haze passing by during some of the exposures. The haze added the photogenic glows around the stars.
— Alan, August 8, 2012 / © 2012 Alan Dyer