Location of Photo:
Pommier Observatory, Portland, Oregon, USA
Date/Time of photo:
2017-09-03 through 2012-09-07.
Telescope and Mount: Celestron Compustar C14 with Astrophysics 0.75x focal reducer (f/8.25) Camera: SBIG STL 11000M with Baader Planetarium H-alpha, R, G, B filters. SBIG AO-L adaptive optics at 3.0 Hz. Exposures: H-alpha:L:R:G:B=600:80:160:160:160 minutes =19 hours:20 minutes total exposure.
The Elephant's Trunk Nebula, IC 1396a, is a small part of the enormous nebula and star cluster IC 1396 in Cepheus. IC 1396 is an HII region in the Milky Way lying 2,400 light years from Earth. The Elephant Trunk itself is a dense, dark globule within IC 1396 that is being illuminated and eroded away by a very massive star off the left side of the image. The massive star is also ionizing and compressing the rim of the Elephant's Trunk, causing it to glow brightly. Star formation is also occurring within the Elephant's Trunk. Solar winds from visible new born stars have cleared a circular region in the center of the globule on the left side of the image, creating the appearance of a curled elephant's trunk. Reflection nebulae are also present, creating colorful contrast.