The Iris Nebula is a located 1,400 lightyears away in the Cepheus constellation. This floral cloud of cosmic dust and gas is a reflection nebula, meaning it glows due to the scattering of the light from its central star.
The Iris Nebula is also known as Caldwell 4 – a member of the Caldwell Catalogue compiled by Sir Patrick Moore – and NGC 7023.
The petal-like structure that gives the Iris Nebula its nickname is 6 lightyears in diameter.
NGC7023 – The Iris Nebula by Bill McSorley, Leeds, UK. Equipment: SW 150P Newtonian, EQ5 GoTo Mount, QHY8L cooled ccd camera.
What’s also striking about pictures of the Iris Nebula is that it appears surrounded by dark regions of cosmic dust, yet its central star makes the the nebula glow brightly through the dust, just like petals blooming from within the depths of the cosmos.
Below is a selection of images of the Iris Nebula captured by astrophotographers and BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers.
For more info on photographing the night sky, read our beginner’s guide to astrophotography or discover our pick of the best astrophotography cameras.
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Iris Nebula by Mark Casto, Halesworth, Suffolk, UK. Equipment: Sky watcher 200p, EQ5 mount with dual axis controls, Modded Canon 350d
NGC 7023 The Iris Nebula by DSLR-LLRGB by Tim Schuurman, Die, France. Equipment: 8″ Skywatcher Newton @F/5 with MPCC, NEQ6-pro, EQmod/CdC, QHY5, 9×50 Finder Guider, PHD, Peltier-cooled Canon 350Da.
NGC 7023 by Stephen Dean, Isle of Wight, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher ED 80 mm, Canon EOS 1100D (modded), Astronomik CLS filter, EQ5 Mount, Guided with PHD guiding.
The Iris Nebula by Graham Green, Brighstone, Isle of Wight, UK. Equipment: Canon EOS 600D DSLR, Officina Stellare APO APM 130-780, Astronomik’s CCD CLS Clip Filter, SkyWatcher NEQ6 Pro Mount, Skywatcher Startravel 80, QHY5 Guider
NGC7023 Iris Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: GSO 8″ Richey-Chretien Optical tube, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
NGC7023 – The Iris Nebula in Cepheus by Bill McSorley, Leeds, UK. Equipment: SW 150P Newtonian, EQ5 GoTo Mount, QHY8L cooled ccd camera.
NGC 7023 (Iris Nebula) LRGB by Chris Heapy, Macclesfield, UK. Equipment: TeleVue NP127is, Atik490EX, Losmandy G11, Gemini, TV Pronto, Lodestar
Iris Nebula – NGC 7023, Caldwell 4, LBN 487 by Ian Russell, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, UK. Equipment: TS Optics 130 super apo, iOptron CEM60 EC, Atik 490ex, Astrodon 36mm unmounted, Atik OAG, QHY5L II, PHD2
Iris Nebula by Stephen Gill, Wales, UK. Equipment: Celestron C11 with f/6.3 focal reducer, NEQ6 Pro mount, 4″ f/6 guide scope, QHY5 guide camera, Modified Canon 600D.
NGC7023 Iris Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12″ Richey-Chretien telescope, Skywatcher EQ8 mount,Atik 383L+ camera, Astronomik LRGB filters, Hutech IDAS light pollution filter, Astro physics 0.67 reducer.
The Iris Nebula by Ron Brecher, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Equipment: 10″ f/6.8 ASA astrograph, Paramount MX, 80 mm f/6.25 Lumicon achromatic refractor, SBIG STL-11000M camera, Baader R, G & B filters, TheSkyX, FocusMax.
The Iris Nebula by Alejandro Pertuz Domönguez, Madrid, Spain. Equipment: TS 80 Triplet Apo, Canon 1000Da, NEQ6 Pro, ASI120MC, 80/400 scope
NGC 7023 Iris Nebula by José, La Jonquera, Girona, Spain. Equipment: Canon 550 Mod by Xap, TS Imaging Star.
The Iris Nebula by Tony Horton, Ross On Wye, Herefordshire, UK. Equipment: Starwave 80 ED-R refractor, Celestron AVX, Altair Hypercam 183c, Light Pollution filter, Sharpcap Pro.
Stacked and processed in PixInsight.
Iris Nebula and Dust by Gerard Tartalo Montardit, Lleida, Spain. Equipment: Skywatcher 150/750 pds, Canon eos 600D modified, coma corrector Baader mpcc, mount neq6 pro2, phd2, Celestron 130/650, Zwo asi 290mc
Iris Nebula – NGC 7023 by Jay Bolt, Crigglestone, West Yorkshire, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 130pds, EQ6-r Pro, QHY 163m, filter wheel, Baader LRGB filters.
C4 Iris Nebula by Mark Griffith, Wallingford, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12″ Richey-Chretien telescope, Skywatcher EQ8 mount,Atik 383L+ camera, Astronomik LRGB filters, Hutech IDAS light pollution filter, Astro physics 0.67 reducer.
Iris Nebula by Pete Lawrence, Lisburn, Northern Ireland. Equipment: Skywatcher Quattro 200 CF, NEQ6 Pro, Atik 428 Mono, Baader LRGB filters, QHY5L-II, Skywatcher ST-80.