Skies By Africa

Images of the Heavens By Eric Africa

NGC 7023, the Iris Nebula

NGC 7023, the Iris Nebula
NGC 7023 is nicknamed the Iris Nebula. It is one of my favorite objects and on my target list ever since I heard about it. There's something about its cool blue reflection glow framed by the dark nebulosity that makes it stand apart from the hordes of emission nebulae out there. It is located in the northern constellation Cepheus, a group of faint stars looking somewhat like a lopsided drawing of a house. This constellation is near the familiar “W” (or “M”, depending on its orientation) of Cassiopeia.

NGC 7023 is illuminated by star HD 200775, a massive star with 10 times the mass of our sun. Its light is reflected off a surrounding dust cloud. Interactions between the star and the surrounding dust are responsible for the distinct hourglass shape of this nebula.

The above image is a highly-compressed version of the full image. Please click on that preview image to see a full-sized view.
Constellation: Cepheus
When Visible: August - January
Distance: 1,200 Light-years
Date: August-September 2017
Location: Dark Sky New Mexico, Animas, NM
Exposure Details:
L: 44 x 10 minutes Binned 1 x 1
R: 16 x 10 minutes Binned 1 x 1
G: 16 x 10 minutes Binned 1 x 1
B: 16 x 10 minutes Binned 1 x 1

15 hours and 20 minutes total exposure time
Equipment Used:  PlaneWave CDK on a Software Bisque Paramount ME mount. SBIG STL-6303 camera with 5-position filter wheel, AO-L and Astrodon LRGB filters
Acquisition Software:  MaximDL, TheSky6, CCDAutopilot
Processing Software: MaximDL, Photoshop CS5, IrFanView, HLVG Plugin, Carboni Actions