For a higher resolution image of IC 1396 click here (1.24 Mb)




The Details
IC 1396 in Cepheus (4-Pane Mosaic)
Astro Physics 160 EDF refractor at f/5.7
Astro-Physics 1200 GTO
Tru-Balance 6nm Hydrogen Alpha filter
05, 06, 13 and 26 September 2008
Mount Wilson Observatory - Mount Wilson, CA
Ha 4 x 9 exp x 1200 sec 1x1 bin (12 hours total exposure)
Maxim DL/CCD, Registar, CCDSharp, Photoshop CS3
Field of View: 03° 26’ x 02°36’ centered on RA 21h39m36s
DEC +57°28’57”. North angle 89.10 °; east 90° CCW from north

This emission nebula, lying about 3000 light-years from Earth, spans an apparent diameter of about 3° of the sky, making it one of the largest in the northern skies. A favorite of astrophotographers, the striking dark lanes and globules contrast beautifully with the bright areas of ionized hydrogen gas. The well known dark lane known as the Elephant Trunk (VdB 142) can be seen at the 6 o'clock position. The "Jumping Frog" globule is a prominent dark feature at the 10 o'clock position from the center of the nebula. The bright star at 1:30 o'clock is Herschel's Garnet Star, Mu Cephei. This star is a red supergiant having a luminosity 350,000 times that of the Sun and a diameter nearly 1500 times greater than our Sun, making it one of the largest known stars in our galaxy. Placing Mu Cephei in the center of our solar system, its outer edge would extend well out beyond the orbit of Jupiter! Being in the later stages of its short life and fusing helium at its core, Mu Cephei is ultimately headed for a spectacular death as a supernova. Because of its great mass, the end result of this cataclysmic event will likely be the creation of a black hole where once this star blazed brightly.




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