Russell Croman Astrophotography  



The Cocoon Nebula
(in Hydrogen-alpha)

About This Photograph

Aptly named, this vast cloud of gas and dust, roughly 3,300 light years away, swaddles over 100 newborn stars. Once a dark nebula, it is now stimulated to emit light by the intense radiation from its offspring. Looking around the borders of the nebula, a region relatively devoid of stars can be seen — an extension of the Cocoon that does not emit its own light, but betrays its presence by blocking the light of stars beyond.

Eventually, the cloud will fade and dissipate, pushed away by pressure from the same radiation that presently causes it to shine.


Technical Details

Optics:14" f/10 RCOS Ritchey-Chrétien Cassegrain w/ RCOS Field Corrector.
Camera:SBIG STL-11000M.
Mount:Astro-Physics AP1200GTO.
Filters:Custom Scientific 5nm H-alpha.
Dates/Times:11 October 2004.
Location:my backyard observatory in Austin, Texas.
Exposure Details:5.75 hours (15-minute individual exposures).