Bright nebula in Cygnus
This nebula gets its name from its curious resemblance to the shape of the continent. The pink areas are vast expanses of glowing hydrogen gas. The nebula is in a dense section of the Milky Way in Cygnus. The bright star is Deneb, which represents the tail of Cygnus, the swan. Just to the right of the North America Nebula is the Pelican Nebula (which is harder to visualize, at least in this photo).
Below is a more recent, close-up view of NGC 7000. The small open cluster that can be seen in roughly the "Great Lakes" region of the nebula is NGC 6997.
Upper image: This photo was taken by my son Tom, using a Canon camera and an Aero-Ektar lens with a focal length of 178 mm and a Lumicon Deep Sky Filter. It is a 26-minute exposure on Kodak Gold 1000 film.
Lower image: Exposure times of 48 minutes luminance and 15 minutes each of red, green and blue, taken with an SBIG 8300M imager and a Tokina 500 mm lens.