Detail View: NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Collection: The Elephant's Trunk in IC 1396

The Elephant's Trunk in IC 1396
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 [ ]. Of course, this cosmic elephant's trunk is over 20 light-years long. The false-color [ ] view was recorded through narrow band filters that transmit the light from hydrogen (in green), sulfur (in red), and oxygen (in blue) atoms [ absorption.html ] 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 [ StarForm.html ] and hide protostars within [ ] the obscuring cosmic dust. Nearly 3,000 light-years distant [ cosmic.html ], the relatively faint IC 1396 complex [ bibcode=1996A%26A...309..581W&db_key=AST&high=3af6c03e8102807 ] covers a large region on the sky, spanning about 5 degrees. This dramatic close-up covers a 1/2 degree wide field, about the size [ ] of the Full Moon.
Credit and Copyright: 
//">Copyright: Brian Lula [ ]
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
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