The Elephant's Trunk Nebula (IC 1396a)

Posted by Rod Pommier
on Wednesday, April 24, 2013

by Rod Pommier

Telescope and Mount: Celestron Compustar C14 with Astrophysics 0.75x focal reducer (f/8.25)

Camera: SBIG STL 11000M with Baader Planetarium H-alpha, R, G, B filters. SBIG AO-L adaptive optics at 3.0 Hz.

Location: Pommier Observatory, Portland, OR, U.S.A.

Dates: 2017-09-03 through 2012-09-07.

Exposures: H-alpha:L:R:G:B=600:80:160:160:160 minutes =19 hours:20 minutes total exposure.

The Elephant's Trunk Nebula, IC 1396a, is a small part of the enormous nebula and star cluster IC1396 in Cepheus. IC 1396 is an HII region in the Milky Way lying 2,400 light years from Earth. The Elephant Trunk itself is a dense, dark globule within IC 1396 that is being illuminated and eroded away by a very massive star off the left side of the image. The massive star is also ionizing and compressing the rim of the Elephant's Trunk, causing it to glow brightly. Star formation is also occurring within the Elephant's Trunk. Solar winds from visible new born stars have cleared a circular region in the center of the globule on the left side of the image, creating the appearance of the curled elephant's trunk. Reflection nebulae are also present, creating colorful contrast.

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