"Perhaps discovered by William Herschel on October 24, 1786. Discovered by John Herschel before 1833.
This nebula is lying 3 degrees from bright Deneb, Alpha Cygni. Some people claim it may be visible to the naked eye under good, dark conditions, and a preferred object for amateur astrophotographers. The distance to the North America Nebula is estimated at 1,600 light years. The North America Nebula was perhaps detected by William Herschel who cataloged a "faint, extremely large, diffuse nebulosity" near its place under his catalog number H V.37. John Herschel definitely found it and cataloged it as h 2096 and later as GC 4621. It was first photographed by Max Wolf on December 12, 1890.
In the North America Nebula, stars are forming. Three expressed open clusters in the NGC catalog are probably associated with it:
In the north-western part of the North America Nebula, NGC 6989 has been detected by William Herschel (H VIII.82, GC 4613) on September 11, 1790.
In its northern part, young open cluster NGC 6996 has formed; this cluster has been discovered by John Herschel (h 2094, GC 4619) before 1833.
Stars west of the nebula (beyond its "East Coast") form young open cluster NGC 6997 which was found by William Herschel (H VIII.58, GC 4629) on October 24, 1786 (the same day he probably found the nebula), which have probably formed from the same interstellar cloud.
The image on the right was obtained by Ray Palmer . It was taken on August 26th 2006 from Perth, Western Australia, with a Takahashi Epsilon 160 mounted on a Losmandy G-11at f/3.3, exposed for 20 min on Fuji Provia 400F Pushed + 1. North is right and East is up.
More info on this image (Ray Palmer)
More images by Ray Palmer
The image on the right was created by Dr. Andjelko Glivar, Donja Stubica, Croatia, who obtained it "piggyback" on his C8 with a Tele 200mm/f:3.5, on Fujicolor super G plus 800, 25 min. exposure time. On this image, to the lower right of the North America Nebula, fainter Pelican Nebula (IC 5067/5070) can be seen." - http://seds.org/messier/xtra/ngc/n7000.html