Image Details
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Dates & Location

December 29 2008 - 16 January 2009 SMAP site at Weed, New Mexico. Elevation 7269 ft. Lat 32.8°N Long 195.5W  

Catalogue identification

Cocoon Nebula
IC 5146
Equipment Used

Officina Stellare RC400 at 3304 mm focal length.
ME German Equatorial Mount.
Camera SBIG ST-11000M.SBIG FW-8L Filter Wheel
TheSky V6 Telescope control
MaxIm DL V4.53 Camera control.


Where it is in space

Constellation of Cygnus, in our Milky Way Galaxy. It is approx 4,000 light years away from Earth. In this image, South is up. 10 x 10 arc minutes (1/3 the apparent size of the Moon in the sky).
Acquisition Remote session using RADMIN PC control from Ravenshead, UK.
LRGB exposures:- 80:70:70:70mins total using 23 x 10 min and 4 x 15 min Luminance sub-exposures
  What it is

The Cocoon Nebula is a hatching place for a new generation of stars. Already there are many new stars visible in the central area of the nebula and these are also designated as an open cluster within IC 5146. The young, very bright and very massive star at the centre of the nebula is only about 100.000 years old but its extremely high energy output has cleared the surrounding area of the interstellar molecular gas cloud from which it formed and is the main source of illumination of the nebulosity that we see. The darker, less star populated areas of the image give the true scale of the originating gas cloud. This can be best seen in wider field inages to extend for many degrees of arc across the densely populated Milky way - mainly visible due to its extinction of background stars in the galaxy.

Processing Methods

Images acquisition and telescope control with MaxIm DL V4.53  
  Data reduction and Luminence De-convolution with CCDStack  
  Master RGB image and Master Lum Image with CCDStack. Finished in PSCS2