2019 August 16

The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula in Cepheus
Image Credit & Copyright:
Chuck Ayoub

Explanation: Like an illustration in a galactic Just So Story, the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula winds through the emission nebula and young star cluster complex IC 1396, in the high and far off constellation of Cepheus. Also known as vdB 142, the cosmic elephant’s trunk is over 20 light-years long. This colorful close-up view was recorded through narrow band filters that transmit the light from ionized hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen atoms in the region. The resulting composite highlights the bright swept-back ridges that outline pockets of cool interstellar dust and gas. Such embedded, dark, tendril-shaped clouds contain the raw material for star formation and hide protostars within. Nearly 3,000 light-years distant, the relatively faint IC 1396 complex covers a large region on the sky, spanning over 5 degrees. The dramatic scene spans a 1 degree wide field, about the size of 2 Full Moons.

Chuck Ayoub

说明:就像宇宙版“原来如此故事”中的插图一样,位于又高又远仙王座内的象鼻星云蜿蜒穿过由发射星云和年轻星团组成的IC 1396复合体。这个亦称为vdB 142的宇宙象鼻的长度超过了20光年。这幅彩色特写影像是通过窄带滤波器拍摄的,这个滤波器只可以透过该区域中已电离氢原子、硫原子和氧原子发出辉光。最后合成的影像凸显了勾勒出寒冷星际尘埃和云气轮廓的明亮后掠式脊状结构。这种嵌入式的黑暗卷须状云含有恒星形成的原材料,并遮挡了其内部的原恒星。距离我们将近3千光年远、相对黯淡的IC 1396复合体跨越了天空中超过5度的一大片区域。而这幅引人注目的影像则覆盖了1度的天区,相当于两个满月的大小。

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