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Monday, October 17, 2011

IC 1396, the home of the "Elephant's trunk Nebula"

IC 1396
In constellation Cepheus

HST-palette, from the emission of ionized elements,
R=Sulfur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen.

At the same night, 16. October,  I shot my previous target, I had some time left before dawn.
I shot few frames, 6x1200s,  of H-alpha for IC 1396. Last time I shot this target, I was using a HY8 single shot color astronomical camera. As it's a color camera, bayer matrix cuts down the effective resolution about 1/4 of the native resolution of CCD. I wanted to test, how visible this difference is.
Older image of IC 1396 can be seen HERE. The difference in resolution is impressive, stars are much tighter now. i did use O-III and S-II channels from this older image to build color compositions. (Resolution of those channels doesn't have any effect to my final image, since I'm using my "Tone Mapping" technique.

IC 1396 spans hundreds of light years at distance of about 3000 light years in constellation Cepheus. The famous formation of glowing gases, the "Elephant's Trunk Nebula" can be seen at six a clock position.
This is an active star formation region and it has several massive young stars inside of it, coursing the ionization of elements in this emission nebula.

I have made a study about the apparent size in a sky:

Image is in Natural color palette from the emission of ionized elements, 
R=Hydrogen + Sulfur, G=Oxygen and B=Oxygen + Hydrogen.

Older, longer focal length, closeup image of the "Elephant's trunk Nebula"

A 100% crop from the image to show the resolution.

Technical details:

Processing work flow:
Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack2.
Levels, curves and color combine in PS CS3.

Optics, Tokina AT-X 300mm camera lens at f2.8
Camera, QHY9 , a cooled astronomical camera
Guiding, Meade LX200 GPS and the Lodestar guider
Image Scale, ~3,5 arcseconds/pixel
Exposures H-alpha 6x1200s, binned 1x1
(S-II and O-III are borrowed from an older image)
O-III 8x1200s, binned 2x2, QHY8
S-II 3x1200s, binned 2x2, QHY8

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