Elephant Trunk Nebula, IC 1396 in CFHT Palette
Copyright © 2011
Elephant Trunk Nebula, IC 1396 in the constellation Cepheus
This is a narrowband image in the HOS, CFHT palette.
This is a concentration of interstellar gas and dust in the star cluster IC 1396 and ionized gas region located in the constellation Cepheus about 2,400 light years away from Earth. The piece of the nebula shown here is the dark, dense globule IC 1396A; it is commonly called the Elephant Trunk nebula because of its appearance at visible wavelengths, where it 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 that is just to the west of IC 1396A. The massive star is just below the bottom 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 Trunk nebula is now thought to be 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 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.
Distance: 2400 light years.
Camera: SBIG ST-10XME
Telescope: Astrophysics Starfire 140 EDT F7.5
Mount: Astro-Physics Mach1 GTO with Advanced Telescope Systems portable pier
Images: Total exposure time is 29 hours and 15 minutes.
Date: January 2011
Software: Camera and guider control - CCDCommander, MaximDL; calibration and stacking - CCDStack2, further processing in Photoshop CS4.