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Sadr Region in Cygnus | IC 1318 and Emission Nebula

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The Sadr Region in the Cygnus refers to the hydrogen emission nebula surrounding Sadr (Gamma Cygni) in the cross of the constellation Cygnus. In this area of the night sky, you will also find even more deep-sky astrophotography targets such as the Butterfly Nebula (IC 1318), and the Crescent Nebula.

Sadr (a supergiant) has 12 times the mass of our Sun and about 150 times our Sun’s radius. IC 1318 is considered to be the diffuse emission nebula surrounding Sadr.

Sadr Region

The Sadr Region in Cygnus. 6 Hours Total Exposure. ZWO ASI2600MM Pro. Radian 75. 

The image above shows the bright star, Sadr, at the top right of the image. This photo includes 6 hours of total exposure time using a monochrome CMOS dedicated astronomy camera and narrowband filters. 

Although Sadr and the IC 1318 nebula are seen together from our vantage point on Earth, it is interesting to note that the star that illuminates IC 1318 is a hot, blue O9-class star obscured by interstellar dust.

The nebula you see in the image above is located much farther away than Sadr (about 5000 light-years).

Photo Details:

The images were captured from my backyard in the city (Bortle Scale Class 6) using a ZWO ASIAIR Plus. From my latitude, the best time to photograph this nebula is between the months of June-September). 

To get a better understanding of the way I process each and every one of my astrophotography images, please consider purchasing my premium image processing guide.

best astrophotography telescope

The telescope equipment used for the photo above. (see my full list of astrophotography equipment

The Sadr region is an excellent deep-sky target to practice your astrophotography skills on, no matter which camera and telescope you are using. Sadr is very bright, making it much easier to focus your camera than an area of the sky without any bright stars.

Also, this area is full of dynamic emission nebulae. If you point your camera and telescope toward Sadr, you will reveal plenty of hydrogen gas in the area through a long exposure (tracked) photo at any magnification. For this object, it is often most rewarding to photograph it using a wider focal length of 500mm or shorter. 

telescopes for astrophotography

Related Post: 10 of the Best Telescopes Astrophotography Telescopes Available

Sadr (Gamma Cygni)

Sadr is a yellow-white supergiant star with an apparent magnitude of 2.23. It is Cygnus’ second brightest star (Deneb is the brightest).

Scientists estimate that Sadr lies approximately 1,800 light-years from Earth. It marks the intersection of the Northern Cross, a prominent asterism in the northern hemisphere sky. Sadr is surrounded by a rich field of the Milky Way stars and the diffuse emission nebula IC 1318.

The star map below shows the location of Sadr and the many interesting deep-sky objects in the area. The North America Nebula is not too far away from this region. 

cygnus star map

The Sadr Region in Cygnus. (Image created using Stellarium).


The photo below centers the image frame around Sadr and showcases the diffuse emission nebula in this area. This photo was captured using a Canon EOS Rebel Xsi and a Canon EF 300mm F/4L lens. The camera was mounted to an iOptron SkyGuider Pro mount to track the night sky. 

This photo is typical of what you can expect to achieve with a DSLR camera and a telephoto lens. 

Sadr Region

The star, Sadr, surrounded by a hydrogen emission nebula.

At this focal length, the Butterfly Nebula and NGC 6916 are visible. An even wider image will reveal the many interesting deep-sky objects in the Sadr region. 

Using a DSLR and Telescope

Compare this image to one shot with the William Optics RedCat 51 Petzval APO, at a 250mm focal length. The photo captures a massive area of nebulae in the Cygnus constellation.

For this image, the Triad Ultra filter was used to help isolate the nebula regions from a light-polluted backyard sky. 

Nebula in Cygnus

The Sadr Region in Cygnus captured using a telescope with a 250mm focal length.

This image was one of my favorite photos taken in 2019 (see my top 10 best images). The Sadr region can be fully appreciated when captured using a wide-field setup like this. 

Annotated Image

Below, you’ll find an annotated image of the Sadr region that marks the many deep-sky objects found in this region. This includes the NGC 6910 and NGC 6913 star clusters, IC 1318, and the bright star, 34Cyg (P Cygni). 

You can easily annotate your own astrophotography images using the astrometric calibration service at

Sadr region annotated

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Sadr Star – Intersection of the Northern Cross

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Photographing the Sadr Star in Cygnus

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I was poking around in the middle of the constellation Cygnus last weekend, specifically centered on to the extremely bright Sadr star. I really wanted to post a really snazzy wide field photo of this region on this blog, but I was unhappy with my results.

I set my mount and telescope up for imaging in the South, at the far edge of my backyard. This spot was a poor location for shooting straight up overhead at the constellation Cygnus for me, as I ran into trees by 1:30 am. The result, only 1 hour of total exposure on a hot night. Even the stacked final image including 15 dark frames was noisy after stretching! 

I was already sad about the trees, but after seeing my noisy photo, I was Sadr. (anyone?) Clearly, I need more time on it.

The night was not a complete waste. Aside from the mosquito bites and the ever constant worry from my neighbors “what is he doing out there!?”, I was able to snap this neat little photo of the Summer Triangle. The stars that make up this giant asterism are Altair, Vega, and Deneb. For this shot, I used my Canon 70D and 17-40mm lens, riding on the Sky-Watcher mount.  15 – 40-second shots were stacked together for the final image.

The Summer Triangle

The Summer Triangle


Tonight’s the Night – Gamma Cygni

Location of the Sadr Star

With the almost first-quarter moon setting tonight around midnight, and clear, cool skies in the forecast for the Niagara region, it looks like I am set for round 2 tonight. Tomorrow night looks clear as well, will this be the weekend of the Sadr Star? That might be the nerdiest thing I have ever said.  That’s not true.

Tonight, I will position the mount for an all-night-long session in Cygnus. My plan is to frame Gamma Cygni directly in the center. From the other images of this area, it looks like I should pick up a lot of nebulosity throughout the frame.

My 30-day trial of Backyard EOS is still in effect, so I am happy to use it’s handy imaging features for another free night before shelling out the $50 US for the full version. A fair price for this impressive software. See the star map to the left for an idea of where I will be shooting tonight. If all goes well, my next post will be a portrait of the intersection of the Northern Cross.


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