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October deep sky: Nebulae, clusters and galaxies

Deep sky: Large oval of streaky orange, yellow and blue space clouds sprinkled with faint stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Emil Andronic in Hemel, Hempstead, UK, captured this deep sky image on October 16, 2022. He wrote: “Sharpless 119, also known as the Clamshell Nebula, is a large emission nebula covering about 3 degrees of sky located around 1,800 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. Photographers rarely image it, likely due to its proximity to the photogenic North America Nebula and Pelican Nebula, just 2 degrees east. The large, bright star in the center is 68 Cygni and is of about 5th magnitude.” An outstanding photo. Thank you, Emil!

Photos of October’s deep sky

Enjoy these October deep-sky photos – diffuse nebulae and star clusters within our own Milky Way galaxy, as well as mysterious galaxies beyond our own – captured this month by members of the EarthSky community. Do you have a great photo to share? Submit it here.

Diffuse nebulae in the deep sky

A large, globby red cloud in black space scattered with many stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Jeremy Likness in Monroe, Washington, captured the Monkey Head Nebula in Orion on October 10, 2022. He wrote: “NGC 2174 is a nebula energized by the radioactive winds blowing from young, active stars in the nearby cluster NGC 2175. In some images it does look like a monkey head, but this close up is more a study of the rich texture and details that make up this complex structure.” Thank you, Jeremy!
Large dark swirls and a small patch of bright blue nebulosity in a dense starfield.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Ryan Walsh in Leslie, Michigan, captured this telescopic image of the Iris Nebula (NGC 7023) in Cepheus on October 3, 2022. He wrote: “The Iris Nebula is a reflection nebula located around 1,300 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cepheus. A bright central star illuminates it. The light from this star reflects off surrounding dark cosmic dust, creating the blue color. This dark cosmic dust extends out into the area surrounding the reflection nebula as well.” Thank you, Ryan!

The Bubble and Soul in Cassiopeia

Almost circular red cloud in space with brilliant blue center, with scattered stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Eyad Khailany in Erbil, Iraq, captured the Bubble Nebula in Cassiopeia on October 18, 2022, and wrote: “NGC 7635, also known as the Bubble Nebula, Sharpless 162, or Caldwell 11, is an H II region emission nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia. It lies close to the direction of the open cluster Messier 52. The ‘bubble’ comes from the stellar wind of a massive, hot, 8.7-magnitude young central star, SAO 20575 (BD+60°2522). The nebula is near a giant molecular cloud that contains the expansion of the bubble nebula while it is itself being excited by the hot central star, causing it to glow.” Thank you, Eyad!
Double blue nebula with red rims in starry space.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Basudeb Chakrabarti in Kolkata, India, captured the Soul Nebula in Cassiopeia on October 8, 2022, and wrote: “After a one-year break I have done an astrophotography session from Kolkata. This is the first image using my new Optolong L-extreme filter. I wanted to test the full potential of my new filter, and hence I have carried out a session under the full moon. I am amazed to see the result. The Soul Nebula is an open cluster of stars surrounded by a cloud of dust and gas over 150 light-years across. It’s located about 6,500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cassiopeia, near the Heart Nebula.” Thank you, Basudeb!

The Heart Nebula in Cassiopeia

Heart-shaped, light blue cloud with orange rim over a background of distant stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Wael Omar in Cairo, Egypt, captured this image of the Heart Nebula in Cassiopeia on October 6, 2022, and wrote: “I present to you the Heart Nebula, which took over 48 hours of imaging in October. With much pain, thrill and excitement during the imaging of this Nebula, I ended up with this lovely gas and dust collection.” Amazing work. Thank you, Wael!
Pink and blue clouds and dark finger-shaped formations amongst many scattered stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | James Carroll in Conway, Arkansas, captured this telescopic narrow-band image of the Heart Nebula in Cassiopeia on October 1, 2022. He wrote: “This is LDN1369, the center of the Heart Nebula. It is rich in ionized hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur gases along with dark dust lanes. It is such a beautiful and dynamic region of the sky. I have wanted to shoot this area for some time and couldn’t be happier with the results.” Amazing work. Thank you, James!

Nebulae within the Orion Complex

Multiple patches of small, reddish clouds, with numerous background stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mohammad Adeel in Khangarh, Punjab, Pakistan, captured the Orion Complex on October 16, 2022. He wrote: “The Orion complex – a region full of stellar nurseries. I had always wanted to capture a nebula, and it’s humbling to have captured not 1 but 4 nebulae in one frame. The Orion Nebula, Running Man, Horsehead Nebula and the Flame Nebulae are all part of the Orion Complex. Sometimes called the Orion molecular cloud complex, it’s a huge star-forming area in the constellation of Orion. It is a large group of bright nebulae, dark clouds and young star clusters. The cloud is between 1,500 and 1,600 light-years away and is hundreds of light-years across.” Thank you, Mohammad!
A larger, long reddish cloud and a smaller yellowish cloud, with foreground stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Stéphane Picard in Quispamsis, New Brunswick, Canada, captured this view of nebulae in the Orion Complex on October 22, 2022. He wrote: “The Flame and Horsehead nebulae are Alnitak’s (first star on Orion’s belt) constant companions. Love these 2 nebulae because of the dramatic contrast of the dark gas clouds in front of the diffuse and emission gas clouds. Some of my favorite fall and winter targets are beginning to grace our night sky.” Thank you, Stéphane!

Star clusters in the deep sky

A dozen bright stars surrounded by intense blue fog-like nebulosity in a star field.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | David Hoskin in St. Croix, Nova Scotia, Canada, captured the Pleiades star cluster on October 22, 2022. He wrote: “Messier 45, also called the Seven Sisters and the Pleiades, is an open star cluster containing hot and luminous B-type stars. Located 444 light-years from Earth, this is one of the closest open star clusters and the nearest Messier object. The reflection nebulae that surround the brightest stars are created by an interstellar dust cloud through which the stars are currently passing.” Thank you, David!
Two bunches of stars containing about a dozen each, with hundreds of background stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Stéphane Picard in Quispamsis, New Brunswick, Canada, captured this telescopic view of the Double Cluster in Perseus (NGC 869 and NGC 884) on October 2, 2022. He wrote: “Both clusters are situated in the Perseus OB 1 association. At a distance of about 7,000 light-years, the clusters are only a few hundred light-years apart. They are both quite young, with NGC 869 being 5.6 million years old and NGC 884 3.2 million years old. Their hottest main sequence stars are of spectral type B0. By comparison, the Pleiades have an estimated age ranging from 75 million years to 150 million years.” Thank you, Stéphane!

Galaxies beyond our own

Very oblique view of medium-sized bluish spiral nebula with a yellow nucleus and foreground stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Eyad Khailany in the outskirts of Erbil, Iraq, captured the Sculptor galaxy (NGC 253) on October 6, 2022, and wrote: “The Sculptor Galaxy is a good target for observation with a telescope of 300 mm diameter or larger. In such telescopes, it appears as a galaxy with a long, oval bulge and a mottled galactic disc. Although the bulge appears only slightly brighter than the rest of the galaxy, it is fairly extended compared to the disk. In 400 mm scopes and larger, you can see a dark dust lane northwest of the nucleus and over a dozen faint stars on the bulge.” Thank you, Eyad!

Bottom line: Members of the EarthSky community shared these amazing photos of October’s deep sky.

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