An Interstellar Nest


Terry Hancock

Western Michigan

Size: 4540×3630 pixels
Captured June 29, 2016
Total integration Time 160 minutes
Location: DownUnderObservatory, Fremont, MI
LRGB 160 min, 4 x 10 min each 1×1
Filters by Optolong
QHY16200A monochrome CCD cooled to -20C
Takahashi E-180 F2.8 Astrograph
Paramount GT-1100S German Equatorial Mount
Image Acquisition Maxim DL
Pre Processing Pixinsight
Post Processing Photoshop CS6

The Cocoon Nebula IC5146
It’s been a few years since I photographed the Cocoon Nebula close up. This time I’m using the new APS-H size QHY16200A together with my AT12RC w/AP2.7 reducer @ F6.2 giving me 1867mm Focal Length. This is only 4 x 10 min exposures each channel LRGB and I’m pleasantly surprised to be getting round stars from corner to corner using the big chip QHY16200 especially with the AP Reducer.
Something I never noticed before when I have captured this object in the top right hand corner are 3 very distant galaxies.
The Cocoon Nebula is both a reflection nebula and an emission nebula. Located 4,000 light-years away near the constellation Cygnus, the swan. The central star which powers the glowing hydrogen was born just 100,000 years ago, a stellar infant, and will continue to carve out the inner regions of the nebula as its stellar winds blow.
Unmistakable in this image is the reflection nebula which extends away like a tail. Consisting of mostly dusty interstellar material dense enough that it blocks the starlight from behind.
Objects like The Cocoon Nebula are very common, many completely unknown because the molecular cloud hasn’t yet birthed a star. Without an ionization source, the cloud of gas and dust will remain dark and will go largely unnoticed.