The Elephant Trunk Nebula in Dual-Colour Narrowband – 04/10/2018

Elephant’s Trunk Nebula – Dual- Colour Narrowband – Ha and OIII

This enigmatic object is the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula, which forms part of IC1396 in Cepheus. It’s around 2,400 light years from Earth, and is a column of dark material, inside which stars are forming, causing the edges to glow. This is a dual-colour image taken over two nights. It’s quite a dim object, and takes a lot of integration (exposure time) to get much out of. This is actually a total of 3hrs 20min of Hydrogen Alpha and a massive 7hrs 10min of OIII. The OIII is extremely faint, and takes quite a lot of processing and enhancement to bring it out. The OIII is effectively the areas that have the orange glow, with the Hydrogen Alpha showing more of the luminance (or brightness). In fact, in this case, the Ha has been combined back into the image as a luminance layer to bring out some of the finer detail that it holds, as when you combine Ha and OIII into dual-colour narrowband, it can often leave the result quite noisy and indistinct. The image below is the Ha image only, before the combination with the OIII…

Elephant’s Trunk Nebula Ha Only

Full Details…

Capture and Processing Information

  • Object  – Elephant’s Trunk Nebula (in IC1396)
  • Constellation – Cepheus
  • Camera – Atik 314L Mono
  • Exposure – Ha – 3hrs 20min of 5-min subs
  • Filters – Astronomik 12nm Ha Filter, Baader 12nm OIII Filter
  • Telescope – Altair Starwave 102ED
  • Mount  – Skywatcher HEQ5 with Rowan Belt Mod
  • Guidescope – Off-axis
  • Guidecam – SX Lodestar
  • Guide Software – PHD2
  • Capture Software – APT
  • Stacking and Initial Processing – MaximDL
  • Post-Processing – Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC.

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