Cocoon Nebula in Cygnus

September 12, 2011

Cocoon_EPOD (3)
: Greg Parker
Summary Author: Greg Parker

The image above shows a deep-sky mosaic (three frames) of the Cocoon Nebula in the constellation of Cygnus. It was taken last spring from the New Forest Observatory in Brockenhurst, Hampshire, U.K. The Cocoon Nebula (IC 5146) itself is a rather small hydrogen-alpha emission nebula lying at a distance of about 3,300 light years. Even more impressive (in my opinion) than IC 5146 is the trailing dark nebulosity left behind in its wake as it pushes its way through the Milky Way. This dark nebulosity, known as Barnard 168, is probably the most stunning dark nebula observable from the Northern Hemisphere.

Image details: Celestron C11 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with Hyperstar III attachment; Starlight Xpress M25C one-shot color camera; approximately 12 hours total exposure. Image processing by Noel Carboni in Florida, U.S. Mosaic is the size of 12 full Moons across – the Moon is approximately one half degree in diameter.