I am completely thrilled to be able to share this wide field image with you today! It’s been so crappy out that I have not been able to do any astrophotography what so ever for what seems like weeks. The past week hasn’t been what I would call ideal either, though it’s been clear enough out that on at least one night I was able to collect light from IC1396, The Elephant Trunk Nebula from sun down to sun up!
IC1396, The Elephant Nebula
With the heart of the Milky Way galaxy cresting the eastern horizon at about sun down. Many of the most incredible deep space objects are becoming prime subjects for imaging. That is when it’s not completely overcast and raining. IC1396, or The Elephant Trunk Nebula is one of those incredible objects.
As far as deep space objects go, IC1396 is a monster . It’s about 1.5 degrees in width and is without a doubt one of the largest nebula in the night sky. Largest from our perspective anyway. I mean I am sure there are nebula in our observable universe which are much larger.
The Elephant nebula is a large network of ionized interstellar gas and dust that sits nearly 2400 light years away from our earth. Like many of the nebula visible to us, IC1396, The Elephant Nebula is an active nursery that is giving birth to new stars as we speak. In fact astronomers have located and cataloged several very young stars with the active areas of this nebula. Stars that on a cosmic scale are mere babies at less than 100,000 years old.
IC1396, The Elephant Nebula Image Details And Specifications
This image of the Elephant nebula was captured over the course of two nights. The first night was more exploratory than anything else. While on day two the entire evening was spent collecting data on it. This image is made up of RGB data using no filters except for a Astronomik light pollution filter. The best light pollution filters selling if you want my honest opinion. In fact if you own a Canon, or a Nikon these filters clip right into the body of the DSLR camera, behind the lens, or telescope. They do not effect focus and they almost completely eliminate the worst of sky glow and stray light pollution.
Sixty Six, 250 second photos were captured to complete this image. Those photos were then imported into Adobe Photoshop where they were stacked, converted into a smart object and then blended using a mean filter.
Once aligned and stacked the data within the stacked file was stretched and processed using various techniques used to bring out the most detail as possible within the image.
In general I took a minimalist approach to processing this photo. Under normal circumstances the data collected would be stacked and aligned in Deep Space Stacker, stretched in a program called RNC Color Stretch and then post processed in Adobe Photoshop.
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