Elephant Trunk Nebula – IC 1396a

At this level of magnification, it does not look like a trunk of an elephant, but, seeing through a wide-field telescope, the large column of gas in the right center of the image looks like a curved trunk. On the other hand, I see a little monster looking at us (with one eye visible) – that’s just my imagination running riot!

The Elephant’s Trunk nebula is a concentration of interstellar gas and dust within the much larger ionized gas region IC 1396 located in the constellation Cepheus about 2,400 light years away from Earth. The bright rim is the surface of the dense cloud that is being illuminated and ionized by a very bright, massive star (not in the image). This nebula contains several very young (less than 100,000 yr) stars that were discovered in infrared images in 2003. Two older yellow-colored stars are present in a small, circular cavity in the head of the globule. Winds from these young stars may have emptied the cavity.

This is another narrowband image i.e. taken with filters that block out Moon light and only let in those spectrum of light that the nebula is made of i.e. Hydrogen Alpha (for Green), Sulphur (for Red) and Oxygen (for Blue). Total exposure of 15h40m. (Ha-17, O-13, S-11 of 20 min each)

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Last year, I had taken another image of this monster with regular colors and adding some Hydrogen Alpha.

I took this image during bright moon, by taking it with Hydrogen Alpha filter for 17 images of 20 minutes each and then adding RGB color data of 5 images each of 10 minutes each, making it total of 8 hours. Processed in Pixinsight.

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