Russell Croman Astrophotography  



IC 1396 and the Elephant's Trunk Nebula in Elemental Colors

About This Photograph

IC 1396 is a fascinating nebula complex in the constellation of Cepheus, in the far northern sky. Most of the nebula is visible through the emission of light from various gasses energized by the ultraviolet light from bright stars within. This photograph was made using special filters to capture the light from three of these gasses: sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen – and representing these wavelengths as red, green, and blue. This gives rise to an array of colors and an appearance not unlike the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park in the US.

In the bottom right is the intriguing Elephant's Trunk nebula. It is a dark column of gas and dust being eroded by the radiation pressure from the bright star near the center of the nebula. Numerous other columns and globules of varying size are scattered throughout the rest of the nebula. Some of these are positioned between us and the bright clouds of gas beyond, and so appear as inky black silhouettes.

Click here for an annotated photograph.


Related Photographs

The Elephant's Trunk Nebula

Technical Details

Optics:Takahashi FSQ-106 EDX4
Camera:SBIG STX-16803
Mount:Paramount MX+
Filters:SBIG [SII], Hα, [O III]
Dates/Times:July-August 2020
Location:RC-Astro North Observatory at New Mexico Skies
Exposure Details:[SII]:Ha:[OIII] = 12:6.25:9.25 hours (27.5 hours total)
Acquisition:MaxIm DL 6, ACP Expert
Processing:PixInsight, Photoshop, GradientXTerminator