NGC 7023 – The Iris Nebula

In the constellation of Cepheus during the fall months you can find NGC 7023. The Iris Nebula is a large reflection nebula with an apparent magnitude of 6.8. This nebula is lit by the bright star SAO 19158 at a magnitude of 7. It lies in the Milky Way about 1300 light years away from our solar system, and has a radius of 3 light years making it 6 light years across.

Location of NGC 7023

Location of NGC 7023

Through the eyepiece of my 6” telescope from my light polluted skies this nebula was not visible. Upon further magnification of the central star it started to appear a bit fuzzy. In the field of view there was the one bright central star and multiple dim stars scattered lightly through the field.

NGC 7023 taken on 07-18-14

Taken on the night of July 18, 2014. This image consists of 22 images at 300 seconds each, 17 flat frames, and 18 dark frames. Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and post processing done in Photoshop.

Omni XLT 150
CG-5 Advanced Series Go-To
PHD Autoguiding
Orion Starshoot Autoguider
Modified Canon 350D

IC 1396 – Elephant Trunk

IC 1396 is located in the constellation, Cepheus, and is around 2450 light years away from Earth. This region is comprised of a dense gas cloud being compressed by intense radiation and stellar winds from a nearby star to the left of the cloud. These winds are responsible for sculpting the elephant trunk globule. Many young stars less than 100,000 years old within the nebula, and two older stars near the head of the elephant trunk. Emission nebulae, such as IC 1396, absorb light from nearby stars which causes them to glow, and these nebulae are, often times, regions of space where new stars are being formed.

Location of IC 1396 in Cepheus.

Location of IC 1396 in Cepheus.

I was unable to see this nebula through the eyepiece of the telescope, and only with long exposures was the nebula starting to make an appearance. This region of space is quite large at around 3 degrees, and my image contains a small area of around 1 degree. There is plenty more to this nebula, but I wanted to capture the elephant trunk and some of the surrounding dark nebula within the region.

IC 1396 – Elephant Trunk Nebula, 08-05-13.

This image is 53 light frames at 120 seconds a piece, 45 dark frames, 35 flat frames, and 40 bias frames. Images stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, and post processing done in Photoshop. Had to do a little burn/dodge to help make the darker regions pop out a bit more as the red from the nebula bled into the darker region. I may revisit this region later on this year.

Omni XLT 150 with CG-4 mount
Modded Canon 350D
T-ring and adapter
Polar Scope for alignment