The Skull (Storm Trooper Helmet) Nebula in Cygnus

Posted by Rod Pommier
on Monday, January 8, 2018

This little hydrogen alpha cloud located between the North America (NGC 7000) and Pelican (IC 5070) Nebulae in Cygnus has been noted by astrophotographers for years and named the skull nebula because of its shape and the two bright stars in the position of the eye sockets of the skull. However, to me, the shape of this nebula and the bright stars in the position of eyes reminds me more of a Storm Trooper Helmet from Star Wars. But as Michael Bakich has pointed out, one argument against this is that the object lies in our Milky Way and not "in a galaxy far, far away."

Location of photo
Pommier Observatory, Portland, OR, USA
Date/Time of photo
2015-06-25 through 2015-07-05
Telescope/Mount: Celestron Compustar C14 with AstroPhysics 0.75x focal reducer (f/8) Camera: SBIG STL 11000M with Baader Planetarium HaRGB filters. Exposures: HaRGB=720:110:110:110=15 hours 40 minutes total exposure.

See additional astrophotographs at

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