Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

     IC 1396A-  Elephant's Trunk Nebula

Nebula Complex



IC 1396A is the Elephant's Trunk nebula. It is located inside of the much larger IC 1396 nebula in Cepheus.

IC 1396A is a Bright Rimmed Cloud that is seen at left center in the image.  It is composed of dust and gas sculpted by hot winds and particles coming from young massive stars in open cluster Trumpler 37.  More than 250 young stars are thought to be forming in and around IC 1396A.  The Elephant's Trunk is located 3,000 light-years away and is 20 light-years long. Pockets of cool dust and gas inside these clouds provide material for star birth. Young protostars are hidden in the dust of this dark comet like complex.

A small blue reflection nebula, Van den Bergh 142, can also be seen near the center of the head of IC 1396A.

North is up in this image.


  • Date & Location:  September 6/7, 2015 - StarEffects Observatory, Bernville. PA

  • Weather:  Calm winds, average temp of 61F

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with Average Transparency. 

  • SQM-L:  Start to Finish 20:45 - 20:54

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is 810mm @f8.1

  • Filter:  Astronomic  EOS clip-in CLS (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  TeleVue TV60is - Orion Star Shoot AG - 5 second exp - excellent graph

  • Camera:  Canon T1i Hap Griffin Modified UV/IR - DSLR

  • Exposure:  32 x 6min ISO1600  (total 3hours 12 minutes)

  • Calibration Frames:  Darks, Bias 60F - 10 Flats Used acquired w/Alnitak Flat Man

  • Processing:    Images Plus 5.75a, PS CS6, DSLR-LLRGB, NIK filter tools 

  • Comments:  I had photographed the much larger IC1396 complex several years ago, but though a tighter view of the Elephant Trunk feature would be an interesting target to add to the collection.

Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors