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The Elephant's Trunk Nebula in Ha

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The Elephant's Trunk Nebula

Another in my series of mono images, this fascinating feature is part of a rich area of emission nebulosity catalogued as IC 1396 in the constellation of Cepheus and lies about 2,400 light years away. In this image, only the ‘trunk’ region is shown but the object gets its name from the extended region to the north that forms the Elephant’s head, ears and the base of the trunk that then curves down and then up again in the typical poise of an elephant placing food in its mouth with its trunk! (see composite image below).

The bright edge to the trunk itself is the compressed ridge of a dense ionized cloud that is being illuminated by the magnitude +5.7 star (HD 206267A) to its east and whose powerful stellar wind is driving the formation of new stars. This massive star is part of the Trumpler 37 (Tr 37) star cluster. These same stellar winds are sculpting the wonderful shapes and filaments that are visible throughout the globular head of the nebula. The darker clouds are silhouetted against the backdrop of glowing hydrogen gas from the surrounding nebula, IC 1396.

The Elephant's Trunk Nebula in Ha


Image Stats

Mount: Mesu 200
Telescope: Sky-Watcher Esprit 150
Flattener: Sky-Watcher Esprit specific
Camera: QSI 683 WSG-8
Filter: Astrodon 3nm Ha
Subframes: 25 x 1800 sec Ha
Integration: 12.5 hours
Control: CCD Commander
Capture: MaxIm DL
Calibration, Stacking and Deconvolution: PixInsight
Post-Processing: PhotoShop PS3




Location of HD 206267A with Ha image overlaid on a very early old RGB image of mine!


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6 hours ago, MarsG76 said:

Great looking photo... I love the amount of detail in it.. 

Thank you, pleased you like it.

5 hours ago, tooth_dr said:

I was actually wondering what made the edge glow, and now I know it’s the star to the east ??

I'm a sucker for information like that myself!

5 hours ago, michael.h.f.wilkinson said:

Lovely shot!

Thanks, Michael

4 hours ago, newbie alert said:

with the Elephant I always look at the double star in the trunk..never seen it split that well before..impressive 

I'm delighted that you have noticed that - I used these two stars as my reference point went selecting the subframes for this image. I rejected three beautifully exposed and tracked subframes based purely on the quality of these two stars and no one wants to squander 1.5 hours of hard won data!

3 hours ago, widotje said:

wohaaa, beautiful image! Thanks for sharing.

Thank you, I'm delighted that you like my image

2 hours ago, Ruud said:

It's a magnificent image!

Thank you, I approve of the scores - no image is worth three tens ?

1 hour ago, AndyUK said:

Very informative indeed, Steve - I've learnt a lot from that (I'd better go and lie down now!).  And a stunning image too - Thanks for the inspiration :).

Thanks Andy, I think you probably saw an earlier version on the weekend?

1 hour ago, Scott said:

Very nice mate and as usual, a nice write-up. 

Thank you, Scott - expect a phone call later!

1 hour ago, tomato said:

Super image and a very informative post.

May I ask how do you get RA/Dec grid overlay onto the image, is it PI feature?

Thank you. The overlay is a two part process in PI. The first part is to run the script Image Analysis - ImageSolver to get the correct plate solve data then the second part is to run the script Render - AnnotateImage to carry out the actual annotation.

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22 minutes ago, Petergoodhew said:

interesting to see just how much Ha is lurking there

Thank you, Peter - I haven't been quite so lucky with the OIII which seems to be a little thin so I might just keep this as a mono as it really suits the object to my eye.

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1 hour ago, steppenwolf said:

Thank you, Peter - I haven't been quite so lucky with the OIII which seems to be a little thin so I might just keep this as a mono as it really suits the object to my eye.

I agree, although there are some fantastic colour images of this object, it’s somewhat spectral appearance in b&w seems to really appeal to the non astronomy viewer. I captured this object in mono with a similar set up, but with a measly 80 minutes integration time, my granddaughter dubbed it “the Dementor Nebula”.

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