Pictures of the Crescent Nebula

Pictures of the Crescent Nebula, NGC 6888, and facts about this beautiful deep-sky emission nebula powered by an ageing Wolf-Rayet star.

The Crescent Nebula, or NGC 6888 as it is formally known, is a distinctive emission nebula that stretches about 25 lightyears across and is located about 5,000 lightyears away from Earth in the Cygnus constellation.

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Discovered by William Herschel in 1792, the Crescent Nebula is the result of a type of star known as a Wolf-Rayet, which are massive stellar objects that are ageing and losing mass at an incredibly high rate.

That’s certainly the case with this Wolf Rayet: the star is shedding its outer layers into space at a rate equivalent to the mass of the Sun about every 10,000 years.

This violent and rapid ejection has produced a dense shell of scorching hot material that gives the nebula its shape, while the complex structures seen within the bubble are likely the result of stellar winds colliding and interacting with older material ejected by the star long ago.

The Crescent Nebula by Bill McSorley, Leeds, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Bill McSorley, Leeds, UK. Equipment: SW 150P Newtonian, EQ5 GoTo Mount, QHY8L cooled ccd OSC camera.

It is thought that the star at the centre of the Crescent Nebula – known as WR 136 – will eventually end its life in a dramatic stellar explosion known as a supernova.

The Crescent Nebula is also known as Caldwell 27, a member of the famous Caldwell Catalogue conceived by Sir Patrick Moore.

Below is a selection of images of the Crescent Nebula captured by BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers and astrophotographers from around the world.

If you’d like to get into capturing images of the night sky yourself, find out more about astrophotography with our astrophotography guides, or discover our pick of the best cameras for astrophotography.

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And if you’d like to submit your images, find out how to send us your astrophotos or share them with us via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Crescent Nebula by Tom Howard, Crawley, Sussex, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Tom Howard, Crawley, Sussex, UK. Equipment: Meade 127mm refractor, EQ6 mount, Nikon D90 DSLR.
The Crescent Nebula by Martin Bailey, Gnosall, Staffs, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Martin Bailey, Gnosall, Staffs, UK. Equipment: Canon 1000d, Astronomik CLS CCD filter, Coma corrector, Skywatcher Explorer 200 PDS, Celestron CG5, Guided using Metaguide.
The Crescent Nebula by Tom Richardson, Birmingham, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Tom Richardson, Birmingham, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher ED80 DS PRO f7.5 with 0.85 focal reducer/corrector. Atik 314E mono ccd. Baader 7nm Ha filter.
The Crescent Nebula by Francesco Di Cencio, Belluno, Italy, Dolomites.
The Crescent Nebula by Francesco Di Cencio, Belluno, Italy, Dolomites. Equipment: Ts Apo Triplet 102 flatfield, Ts Achro Individual 152/900 (for the Ha in Crescent), Magzero QHY9
Celestron CGE+TDM
The Crescent Nebula by Francesco Di Cencio, Belluno, Italy, Dolomites.
The Crescent Nebula by Francesco Di Cencio, Belluno, Italy, Dolomites. Equipment: TS Achro Individual 152/900, TS Apo Triplet 102/537 flatfield, Celestron CGE+TDM, QHY9
The Crescent Nebula by Francesco Di Cencio, Belluno, Italy, Dolomites.
The Crescent Nebula by Francesco Di Cencio, Belluno, Italy, Dolomites. Equipment: TS Triplet Apo 102 faltfield, TS Individual 152/900 Achro (for the Ha layer), Celestron CGE+TDM, Magzero Qhy9
The Crescent Nebula by Francesco Di Cencio, Belluno, Italy, Dolomites.
The Crescent Nebula by Francesco Di Cencio, Belluno, Italy, Dolomites. Equipment: TS Triplet APO 102-flatfield, Magzero QHY9, Celestron CGE+TDM
The Crescent Nebula by Tom Howard, Crawley, Sussex, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Tom Howard, Crawley, Sussex, UK. Equipment: Nikon D700 DSLR. Meade 5000 127mm refractor. EQ6 mount.
The Crescent Nebula by Stephen Wilson, Middlesbrough, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Stephen Wilson, Middlesbrough, UK. Equipment: Canon 450D, 6″ RC reflector, HEQ5 Pro mount, ST102, QHY5.
The Crescent Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount & Equinox 80mm refractor, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik Ha LRGB filter set.
The Crescent Nebula by Matt Foyle, Derbyshire, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Matt Foyle, Derbyshire, UK. Equipment: FSQ106ED, NEQ6 Pro, QHY9M CCD, Baader 2″ filters, Guided with Orion miniguider and QHY5M camera through the guideport.
The Crescent Nebula by Simon Hollingdale, Sussex, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Simon Hollingdale, Sussex, UK. Equipment: 10″ GSO reflector, ASA reducer, Atik 314 mono ccd
The Crescent Nebula by Sara Wager, Spain.
The Crescent Nebula by Sara Wager, Spain. Equipment: Avalon Linear Fast Reverse, Takahashi FSQ85 0.73x, Atik 460EXM with 3nm Ha and 3nm OIII.
The Crescent Nebula by Jesper Sundh, Lyon centre, France.
The Crescent Nebula by Jesper Sundh, Lyon centre, France. Equipment: Astro-Physics 1600GTO, Skywatcher 120ED, Skywatcher 80ED side-by-side, SXVR-M25C OSC, Atik 460EX mono, Astronomik UV/IR cut filter, Astrodon 3nm Ha filter
Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK.
Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron C11 Sct, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
The Crescent Nebula by John Maclean, Exeter, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by John Maclean, Exeter, UK. Equipment: Equinox Pro 80 with Atik 314L+
The Crescent Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron C11 Sct, Skywatcher EQ8 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters. F6.3 focal reducer.
The Crescent Nebula by Alastair Woodward, Derby, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Alastair Woodward, Derby, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 150p, HEQ5 Pro GOTO, Modded Canon 1000d + CLS Clip Filter, Skywatcher Coma Corrector, QHY5L-II, PHD2, ST80 Guidescope.
The Crescent Nebula by Patryk, Gloucester, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Patryk, Gloucester, UK. Equipment: SW 120ED, SW x0.8, Sbig ST8300, AQ EQ6GT, Ha-5h, OIII-5h.
The Crescent Nebula by Jay Bird, Devon, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Jay Bird, Devon, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher ED80, NEQ6, canon 350D baader mod, skywatcher OAG with a ZWO ASI120MC AND PhD2, Filter astronomik CLS-clip in.
The Crescent Nebula by Stephen Dean, Isle of Wight, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Stephen Dean, Isle of Wight, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 80mm ED, SBIG 2000XM with Baader 7 nm Ha filter, NEQ6 Mount, Pixinsight.
The Crescent Nebula by Paul C. Swift, Valencia, Spain.
The Crescent Nebula by Paul C. Swift, Valencia, Spain. Equipment: Vixen VSD100 f/3.8 Astrograph, Starlight Express SXVR-H18, Sky-Watcher NEQ6 Pro, Vixen VSD, sx loadstar, Baader O III 8.5nm, Baader Ha 8.5nm.
The Crescent Nebula by Chris Heapy, Macclesfield, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Chris Heapy, Macclesfield, UK. Equipment: Televue NP127is, Atik490EX, Losmandy G11, TV Pronto + Lodestar.
The Crescent Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12″ Richey-Chretien telescope, Skywatcher EQ8 mount,Atik 383L+ camera, Astronomik Ha, Oiii filters, Astro physics 0.67 reducer.
The Crescent Nebula by David Slack, Prudhoe, Northumberland, UK.
The Crescent Nebula by David Slack, Prudhoe, Northumberland, UK. Equipment: Orion ED80, SXV-H9 mono CCD camera, 0.6 focal reducer, Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro, Astronomik 12nm Oiii filter, Baader 7nm Ha filter and a finder guider using ZWO ASI120mm.