Monday, November 14, 2011

Stunning image of IC 1396 and the Elephant Trunk Nebula

Stunning image of IC 1396 and the Elephant Trunk Nebula
Click on the image for full resolution (2.44 MB)

Stunning emission nebula IC 1396 mixes glowing cosmic gas and dark dust clouds in the high and far off constellation of Cepheus. Energized by the bright, bluish central star seen here, this star forming region sprawls across hundreds of light-years - spanning over three degrees on the sky while nearly 3,000 light-years from planet Earth. Among the intriguing dark shapes within IC 1396, the winding Elephant's Trunk nebula lies just below center. The gorgeous color view is a composition of digitized black and white photographic plates recorded through red and blue astronomical filters. This color image is based on data coming from several photographic plates taken between 1989 and 1993 through the Palomar Observatory's 48-inch (1,2-meter) Samuel Oschin Telescope as a part of the second National Geographic Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS II). The photographs were recorded on two type of glass photographic plates - one sensitive to red light and the other to blue and later they were digitized.
The full resolution image weighs 2.44 MB, so please be patient when downloading!
Credit: Digitized Sky Survey, ESA/ESO/NASA FITS Liberator
Color Composite: Davide De Martin

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