IC 1396

A fascinating area of the night sky, the IC1396 complex is a huge emission nebula located in the constellation Cepheus. Spanning an area wider than six full moons it includes super-giant stars, Bok globules and a dark nebula referred to as "the elephant trunk". Perhaps the most notable feature of IC1396 is the red super-giant Mu Cephei or Herschel's Garnet Star. This massive red star is estimated to be 2.4 billion miles in diameter. To put this into perspective, if this super-giant were placed in the location of our own sun it would extend outward to somewhere between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. This makes it one of the largest stars known in terms of volume. Massive stars like Mu Cephei are destined to live fast, die young and will eventually end their "short" lives with a supernova explosion. In this image the Garnet Star is the bright orange star in the upper right quadrant and the Bok Globules are the dark ghost-like clouds that seem to float across the nebula. The elephant trunk nebula is located at the six o'clock position and extends vertically upward toward the center of the nebula.

This image is a 4 panel mosaic.

OTA:  William Optics Star71

Camera:  Atik 460ex w/EFW2 filter wheel

Filters:  Astrodon Ha/OIII/SII  (3nm) and RGB

Mount:  AP Mach1

Exposure:  Ha:OIII:SII     580:440:460 (m) (total all 4 panels)  RGB: 360m total (bin 2x2)

Data obtained:  October 2014

Meadowlark Ridge Observatory
Meadowlark Ridge Observatory