IC 1396 Elephant Nebula

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.[1] The piece of the nebula shown here is the dark, dense globule IC 1396A; it is commonly called the Elephant’s Trunk nebula because of its appearance at visible light wavelengths, where there is a dark patch with a bright, sinuous rim. The bright rim is the surface of the dense cloud that is being illuminated and ionized by a very bright, massive star (HD 206267) that is just to the east of IC 1396A. (In the Spitzer Space Telescope view shown, the massive star is just to the left of the edge of the image.) The entire IC 1396 region is ionized by the massive star, except for dense globules that can protect themselves from the star’s harsh ultraviolet rays.

The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula is now thought to be a site of star formation, containing several very young (less than 100,000 yr) stars that were discovered in infrared images in 2003. Two older (but still young, a couple of million years, by the standards of stars, which live for billions of years) stars are present in a small, circular cavity in the head of the globule. Winds from these young stars may have emptied the cavity.

The combined action of the light from the massive star ionizing and compressing the rim of the cloud, and the wind from the young stars shifting gas from the center outward lead to very high compression in the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula. This pressure has triggered the current generation of protostars.[2][3]

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IC 1396

Techincal card of Image

Imaging telescopes or lenses: William Optics 81GT IV
Imaging cameras: ZWO ASI 6200 MM Pro
Mounts: Celestron Advanced VX Goto GEM Celestron AVX
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Skywatcher Evoguide 50mm Skywatcher
Guiding cameras: ZWO ASI122mc ZWO
Software: Topaz Lab Topaz Denoise AI · Adobe Photoshop 2021 · PixInsight 1.8 Ripley PinInsight 1.8.8
Filters: ZWO SII 7nm 2″ · ZWO OIII 7nm 2″ · ZWO H-alpha 7nm 2″

Dates:July 15, 2021

ZWO H-alpha 7nm 2″: 5×500″ (41′ 40″) (gain: 0.00) -15C bin 1×1
ZWO OIII 7nm 2″: 5×500″ (41′ 40″) (gain: 0.00) -15C bin 1×1
ZWO SII 7nm 2″: 5×500″ (41′ 40″) (gain: 0.00) -15C bin 1×1
Integration: 2h 5′
Darks: 5
Flats: 20
Bias: 100
Avg. Moon age: 5.36 days
Avg. Moon phase: 29.18%
Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 5.00
RA center: 21h39m18s.25
DEC center: +57°22′05″.0
Pixel scale: 2.001 arcsec/pixel
Orientation: -81.367 degrees
Field radius: 2.841 degrees

More info: Open

Observation data
Distance 2,400 ly
Constellation Cepheus