Skies By Africa

Images of the Heavens By Eric Africa

IC 1396

IC 1396
Hubble Mono H-alpha
IC 1396 is a large emission nebula in the constellation of Cepheus (The King). This object is 3 degrees, or 6 full moons, wide! Since it is estimated to be 3,000 light years away, that makes this cloud hundreds of light-years wide! The huge nebulosity is very faint, but the star clusters associated with it are pretty bright and can be seen with the naked eye in a dark site far from big cities. This object contains not just huge clouds of glowing ionized gases, but also dark dust clouds sculpted into interesting comet-like shapes by the intense stellar winds and radiation from the stars embedded within.

IC 1396 first came to my attention as a large object in an inexpensive version of TheSky that came with one of my telescope purchases back in 2000. I was intrigued by the enormity of this object and gave my 8" GOTO scope the command to aim at the target. As would be expected, I saw no sign of its nebulosity, but I did see some of the star clusters associated with it.
Constellation: Cepheus
When Visible: August - January
Distance: 3,000 Light-years
Date: July - August 2007
Location: West Chester, Ohio
Exposure Details:
H-alpha: 14 x 30 minutes Binned 1x1 (mapped to Green in Hubble Palette)
SII: 20 x 30 minutes Binned 1x1 (mapped to Red in Hubble Palette)
OIII: 19 x 30 minutes Binned 1x1 (mapped to Blue in Hubble Palette)
Equipment Used: Takahashi FSQ-106N on a Takahashi EM200 Temma-PC mount. SBIG STL-6303 camera with 8-position filter wheel and Astrodon narrowband filters. Externally guided with an SBIG Remote Guide Head on a Borg 45ED refractor.
Acquisition Software : MaximDL, TheSky6, CCDAutopilot
Processing Software: MaximDL, Photoshop CS, IrFanView
Older version: 2005 Version of "Elephant Trunk Nebula" region. Takahashi FS-102 on a Takahashi EM200 Temma-2 Mount. SBIG ST-8XE with Custom-Scientific H-alpha Filter.