IC1396 - The Elephants trunk 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. 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). 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.
Mount: Avalon Linear Fast Reverse
Telescope: Orion Optics ODK10
Camera: QSI683 with Astrodon 3nm Ha and OIII filters
This is a two pane mosaic to form the vertical letterbox effect.
11x1800s Ha / 11x1800s OIII Pane 1
11x1800s Ha / 11x1800s OIII Pane 2
Totalling 22 hours of exposure