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NGC 6960 (16,384 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Filamentary Nebula

NGC 6960, Ced 182a, LBN 074.53-08.42, LBN 191, Lacework Nebula, Cirrus Nebula, Veil Nebula, Pickering's Triangular Nebula, Caldwell 34, Filamentary Nebula, V 15, h 2088, GC 4600

RA: 20h 45m 38s
Dec: +30° 42′ 30″

Con: Cygnus
Ch: MSA:1169, U2:120, SA:9


(reference key)

Type: supernova remnant

Mag: B=?, V=?

Size: ?
PA: ?

Image gallery

Photos  (1)

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History and Accurate Positions for the NGC/IC Objects (Corwin 2004)

NGC 6960, NGC 6974, NGC 6979, NGC 6992, NGC 6995, and IC 1340 are all part of the Veil Nebula, the wonderful supernova remnant in Cygnus. The various parts are so large, and most of them so bright, that the generally poor positions in the NGC don't matter. Only the position for NGC 6974 (which see) is completely off its intended part of the nebulosity.

WH describes his "front-view" (what we now call the Herschelian focus of a reflecting telescope) in a note to his observation of NGC 6960. He writes that at the Newtonian focus the nebula extended one degree acorss the sky, while at the Herschelian focus, it stretched twice as far. He is clearly extremely pleased with the performance of his telescope in its "front-view" configuration, but I expect that the additional awkwardness in using it drove him to the Newtonian focus for most of his sweeping.

In the IC2 Notes for NGC 6992, Dreyer paraphrases a short note by Pickering (at the end of an article in ApJ 23, 257, 1906) which describes the appearance of the entire Veil as seen on a 24-inch Bruce plate of 4 hours exposure. Unfortunately, Pickering chose to not publish the photograph; it would have made an impressive plate in this early ApJ paper.

Historical observations

William Herschel (c.1784)

Synonyms: H V-015

William Herschel observed it in 1784 with his newly completed 18.7-inch f/13 speculum telescope. He described it as "extremely faint milky Ray, above 3/4 degree long, and 8 or 10' broad; extended from N.p. to S.f. It makes an angle of about 30 or 40 degrees with the meridian, and contains three or four places that are brighter than the rest. The stars of the Galaxy are scattered over it in the same manner as over the rest of the heavens." He also described it as "Extended; passes thro' k Cygni. By the Newtonian view above 1 degree long. By the Front-view near 2 degrees long.

Webb, T.W. (1893)

In the 5th edition of Webb's Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes it is described as "nebulous ray extending north and south of 52 Cyg."

Published comments

Bailey, S.I. (1913)

Bailey, examining a Bruce plate (Harvard Annals, Vol 72, No 2), notes: "NGC 6960, NGC 6979, NGC 6992 and NGC 6995 are parts of the Great Cygnus Nebula."

Doig, P. (1925)

Doig, P. (1925) Notes on the nebulae and clusters in Webb's 'Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes' (Sixth edition, Vol.ii). Part I. M.N.R.A.S., 35(5), 159.

Cederblad, S. (1946) [VII/231]

Ced 182a (NGC 6960)

Position (1900): RA 21 41.5, Dec + 30 22

Star: ?

Spectrum of nebula: emission spectrum (observed)

Classification: Nebulae without definite relation to certain stars - Detached nebula with discernible structure (eg. NGC 6992)

Size: 70'x6'

Notes: "Ced 182 The nebulous wreath in Cygnus. Ced 182 a = NGC 6960 = GC 4600 = h 2088 = H V 15. Disc. 1784."

Lynds, B.T. (1962)

Lynds, B.T. (1962) Catalogue of dark nebulae. Astrophys.J.Suppl.Ser. 7, 1-52. [also: computer datafile: VII/7A]

Photo index

by Jim Lucyk: 6992, Sky&Tel. 2/81 p101, Sky&Tel. 9/74 p148, Astronomy mag. 1/78 p45, Sky&Tel. 2/77 p110, Sky&Tel. 2/79 p187, Sky&Tel. 3/83 p262.

Photo index by Jim Lucyk: 6974, 6979, 6992 + 6995, Sky & Tel. 2/77 p112, Sky & Tel. 8/79 p195, Sky & Tel. 9/80 p255, Sky & Tel. 10/84 p376, Sky & Tel. 11/79 p414, Astronomy mag. 4/82 p18, Burnhams V2 p800, 802, 803, 804, 809, Vehrenberg's Atlas of DS Splendors (3ed) p219, Vehrenberg's Atlas of Galactic Neb-2 p105

Photo index by Jim Lucyk: Sky & Tel. 11/74 p276, Burnhams V2 p806

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

(Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a diffuse nebula.

Modern observations

Mullaney, J

writes: "[NGC 6992 and NGC 6960] are the brightest portions of the often-pictured Veil or Loop Nebula in Cygnus. NGC 6960 is centred on the star 52 Cygni and is itself known as the Filamentary Nebula. ... Both are thin curved arcs of faintly glowing gas over one degree in length and are best seen in rich-field telescopes on nights of excellent sky transparency. We can only marvbel at how Herschel ever found this extensive nebulosity is his long-focus, narrow-field reflectors."

Sanford (1989) Observing the Constellations

Notes that European observers "seem fond of the title Cirrus Nebula" instead of the Loop or Veil Nebula. He calls it "fascinating and beautiful. It can be seen quite well in binoculars of at least 50mm aperture ..." He notes using a "22-inch f/8 Cassegrain reflector, with a Daystar 300 filter and a 32mm ocular, and the nebula looked exactly like it does in photographs. It appeared at its best above 52 Cygni [NGC 6960] where the nebula narrows and looks tubular, and over in its eastern portions [NGC 6992], where the loop could be followed for about a degree."

Harrington, Phil (1990)

Harrington, P. (1990) An observer's guide to diffuse nebulae II. Sky&Telescope, July, 97.

Forbes, Le (1993)

Forbes (Stoke, St. Mary Bourne, Hampshire) observing from Puimichel, France, writes in the The Webb Society Nebulae and Clusters Section Report No. 11, January 1993: "Both nebulosities appear purplish in colour, bright and show much detail. NGC 6992 is smaller, and the UHC filter on NGC 6960 darkens the nebula slightly but reveals more detail. It shows as being long and strandlike with thin strings. (42-inch, x185/x310)"

Bushnall, Darren (1993)

Bushnall (Hartlepool, Cleveland) observing with a 8.5-inch f/6, writes in the The Webb Society Nebulae and Clusters Section Report No. 11, January 1993: "The eastern part of the Veil Nebula, just visible without filters as a faint streak. Using the UHC filter, many faint variations could be seen."

Hartung, E.J. (1968) Astron.Obj.South.Tel

writes: "In this field there is an irregular rather faint nebulous haze in which the fine yellow and orange pair 52 Cyg is involved. In making this observation it is necessary to see that other bright stars are free, for on some nights which seem to be clear, all bright stars will show haloes, which are atmospheric in origin."

Tom Lorenzin

Lorenzin, in the e-version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "7M; 4.2M 52 CYG embedded; part of one of the finest deep sky objects! wraithe-like filaments with gentle S-shape to N; network of filaments to S; many filaments between N6960 and N 6992 to W; N-filter and wide field eyepiece give photo-like view; can be admired with binoculars; a.k.a. (along with N6992) as the "Cygnus Loop"."

Callender, John

(e-mail: jbc@west.net, web: http://www.west.net/~jbc/)

Instrument: 8-inch Dobsonian reflector Location: Carpinteria, CA, USA

Light pollution: light Transparency: good Seeing: fair

Time: Wed Jul 2 09:00:00 1997 UT Obs. no.: 184

One of the components of the Veil Nebula. Burnham's described it as looking like a miniature Milky Way in the field of a small telescope, and that describes its appearance at 49x in my 8-inch pretty accurately. It required peripheral vision, and was visually kind of unimpressive. (I think I was spoiled by the bright planetaries I'd looked at earlier.)

Maloney, Patrick (IAAC)

Your skills: Advanced (many years); Date/time of observation: 28/Jul/1998 0630UT; Location of site: Rocky Mtn Natl Park, Colorado (Lat , Elev 8400ft); Site classification: Rural; Sky darkness: 6.0 Limiting magnitude; Seeing: 8 1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best); Moon presence: None - moon not in sky; Instrument: 10" Starsplitter Newtonian; Magnification: x38; Filter(s): ; Object(s): NGC 6960 / Veil Neb; Category: Supernova remnant.

Description: This is not the brightest section of the Veil, but was very clearly visible (even without my OIII filter which was languishing at home). The southern section of NGC 6960 was drawn, stretching away from 52 Cyg. The nebula swayed gently across the field like a flattened and inverted integral sign. Lies in an extremely rich field of Milky Way stars.

Brian Skiff

POSS: neb goes only ~27' N of 52 Cyg.

8cm - E portion easy (-92/5), sl textured. poss shreds on N perimeter vis at

20x. W portion (-60) nr 52 Cyg not so consp. BS, 15Sep1982, Anderson


15cm - let's do a description first w/o filters @ 50x. all three basic parts

of the nebula are visible: -60 arcing through 52 Cygni, the triangular piece in the middle -79, and -92/95 over on the E side. -79 is faint. -60 arcs S & E from 52 Cyg 35' and is irreg br, brtning sl generally twd the S end, where it fades out among a patch of m10-12 *s 5' diam. it passes E of 52 Cyg. the * itself is just res here w/the f comp in the NE quad. N of the * the nebula heads nrly straight for 15' in pa15, then has a kink W that starts the scimitar-like curve & taper Nwd that opens E, ending 5' past a m9 * NNW of 52 Cyg, or 30' N of the br *. 45' N of 52 Cyg is a 10' cloud of m11.5-12.5 *s all vsim-br. on further examination against U2000, the middle parts are not at all certain due to the rich substratum of f *s in the area they cover. -92/95 is easiest of all, showing a mottled texture whose outline matches the U2000 one closely. the I1340 portion is not difficult. the [OIII] filter brings out a remarkable transformation! the Wrn segment S of 52 Cyg now has a bifurcation that widens as it heads away from the *. the scimitar N of the * has hisfcbr and shows lateral structure: the `blade' is sharply def and brtst on W, fades W-to-E to a trough then brightens a little on the Ern `cutting edge'. the tip tapers to a sharp point. the visible extent is no longer than w/o a filter, but the contrast the [OIII] provides makes it hang in the sky like a fireball trail.

NE 20' of the sharp tip is an ~circ unnumbered patch (not marked on U2000) of neb 5' diam. 80x w/o a filter shows this may be just a clump of f *s, as the *s are res & the neb practically goes away with averted vis. the long tapering triangular section is now no longer just maybe but fer sure. the Nrn broad top is diffuse and fairly f and somewhat mottled w/bands. as it tapers Swd it gets much brtr, being brtst immed S of the Smost of three m7 *s on U2000 in the main body of this part of the neb. the appendage shown on U2000 SW of this point is not distinguishable from fuzziness due to fld *s.

the Ern arc shows remarkable struc, but not quite the interwoven strands shown on photos. the N & S ends are brtr w/the Srn end being the brtst anywhere in the neb. filagrees extend E twd the center of the circle from this branch. an isolated patch is vis S off the end of the main body of this arc. BS, 11Jul1991, Anderson Mesa.

25cm - neb runs 45' N of 52 Cyg, curves SE from *. neb brtst 15'-20' away from 52 Cyg, nr a m9 *. persists as a thin spike N of this. SE portion a smooth arc, becoming broad and diffuse ~30' from 52 Cyg; this may be due to lg number of m11-13 *s in this area. not much of -92 et al detected. 52 Cyg is un= pair sep @ 50x: m4,9; 6"; pa55. BS, 22Aug1979.

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