Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2023 June 8
Explanation: Like an illustration in a galactic Just So Story, the Elephant's Trunk Nebula winds through the emission region and young star cluster complex IC 1396, in the high and far off constellation of Cepheus. Seen on the left the cosmic elephant's trunk, also known as vdB 142, is over 20 light-years long. This detailed telescopic view features the bright swept-back ridges and pockets of cool interstellar dust and gas that abound in the region. But the dark, tendril-shaped clouds contain the raw material for star formation and hide protostars within. Nearly 3,000 light-years distant, the relatively faint IC 1396 complex covers a large region on the sky, spanning over 5 degrees. This rendition spans a 1 degree wide field of view though, about the angular size of 2 full moons. Of course the dark shapes below and to the right of the outstretched Elephant's Trunk, are known to some as The Caravan.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.