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IC1396 - The Elephant Nebula

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A couple of years ago I looked at doing this, I started a sequence and after the first sub it clouded over and that where my plans stayed until the last couple of weeks.

Unusually the weather forecast on all of these nights wasn't great and for the OIII and the SII they were captured on nearly a full moon, last night I was plagued with gusts of wind up to 17mph, but that's all they were ad-hoc gusts and I lost 3 subs.

These were all captured with 1200s subs of Ha, OIII and SII a total of just under 11 hours of data.

This was one of those images that the more you worked on it the more it developed, I had in my mind a "Pillars of Creation" Colour scheme and deliberately didn't not recall or research it again as I knew when it would be right, and to my mind this is. The reality is that I probably haven't spent more that 3/4's of an hour in total working on it as I had some important work to finish.

I was worried about the double stars at the centre overlapping and I did have a go at star reduction, but it seemed to ruin what was actually there and so I have left it.

Because of the wind, the guiding was from 0.24rms up to 0.80rms, but the iOptron 120EC Mount is really performing and handled it easily at a focal length of 2008mm with my GSO RC F7.9 Truss Scope.

I hope you like it as much as I do?

11 x 1200s Ha, 11 x 1200s OIII, 10 x 1200s SII, iOptron 120EC, Moravian G2-8300 MKII, GSO/Altair 10" RC F7.9 Truss, Chroma 2" Unmounted 3nm Filters, Bortle 5 Skies, 19.51 SQM

Here's the link to the acquisition details: - https://www.astrobin.com/fs2s15/?nc=user

Here's the Bumf: -

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 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.


Edited by Jkulin
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i like that a lot, lovely colour pallette.

Is it weird to say that I like how you've handled the noise... because I can see it ?  Hasn't been battered into submission

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Thanks Stuart for you kind comments.

I'm finding with my first full year of using the Chroma 3nm Filters and the 10" RC that less is more, it has had a very tiny amount of de-noise to combat the full moon with the OIII, but that's it.

I'm an old school photographer where you shot with E6 or B&W and were beaten into submission if you as much as played with your images either by cropping or playing around in early PS, so I very much try to present the image  as it appears just after stretching.

My mate Peter Shah was on the phone to me after I had finished and I explained to Peter how I didn't like the double stars in the middle, he roasted me saying why try to remove something that is already there and exists...enough said😎


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Very nice. One can read people having problem spotting the elephant head, I think it is hard to miss now :)

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