IC1396 Area

153. IC1396 Area


IC 1396  RA: 21h 39.1'  Dec: +57 30'   Cepheus (Cep)

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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.
 
Supplementary Image




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Main Image Information

Location Cherry Springs State Park
Date Sept 26 2019
Optics AstroTech AT65EDQ
Filters None
Mount Celestron CGE
Camera Nikon D810A
ISO 1600
Subexposures 10
Exposure Length 600 seconds
Guider Orion SSAG
 

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All images copyright © 2006-2020, Rick Saunders
Main text descriptions sourced from Wikipaedia.
Sky position information is based on IP geolocation and is therefore approximate.