The famous Cocoon Nebula (IC5146) is thought to be between 3,300 and 4,000 light years away from Earth. Located in the constellation of Cygnus, it is about 15 light years in diameter. You may also note Van den Bergh 147, which is the small reflection nebula just to the upper left of the Cocoon in this image.
Much of the beauty of this nebula comes from the billowing clouds of gas and dust in the area, the raw material for star formation. Thus, the Cocoon is actually a young stellar “nursery”, spawning the hot, young, stars seen in this picture. Like other stellar nurseries, the Cocoon Nebula is at the same time, an emission nebula, a reflection nebula, as well as an absorption nebula. You see the magenta/red of the ‘excited’ hydrogen gas excited by the hot young stars, as well as the bluish starlight reflected by the dust in the surrounding molecular cloud. Also clearly visible are the various dark dust lanes in the region which vary from thin to deeply obscuring.
Thoughts based on recent measurements holds that the massive star in the center of the above image opened a hole in an existing molecular cloud through which much of the glowing material flows. This star, which formed only a few hundred thousand years ago, now provides the energy source for much of the emitted and reflected light from this nebula.
- October 2008
- CRGB: 720:130:130:130 minutes, repsectively (totaling 18.5 hours)
- 15 min subs on C and 10 min subs on RGB data
- 14.5" RCOS and STL11000M Astrodon CRGB filters
- Deconvolution and DDP in CCDStack
- Gradient control (C channel)
- CRGB combine via Rob Gendler's LLRGB technique
- Noel Carboni's Photoshop action for local contrast enhancement
- Noise reduction
- Star color enhancement
- Additional Deconvolution