Elephant Trunk Nebula

Designation: IC 1396
Hemisphere: Northern
Constellation: Cepheus
Distance: 2,400 light years
Object type: Emission Nebula


The Elephant Trunk Nebula is a “globule”, or a region of interstellar dust and gas, that takes its peculiar name from the resemblance to the proboscis of an elephant. In this area of star formation more than 250 very young stars (less than 100,000 years old) have been identified so far.

The Elephant Trunk is part of a large but faint emission nebula (IC 1396) that lies around 2,400 light years from Earth, in the constellation Cepheus. The nebula spans more than 100 light years across whereas the Elephant Trunk stretches over a region of 20 light years.

The whole complex glows due to the radiation emitted by the star system HD 206267 whereas the stellar winds of the central star are eroding the nebula’s structure. Several other globules of different shape and size can be found within IC 1396: these are the dark regions that stand out against the nebula’s glowing clouds of gas.


Mount: ZWO AM5
Main Telescope: William Optics Redcat 51
Main camera: ZWO ASI294MC-Pro
Main camera filter: Optolong L-Ultimate 3nm
Guidescope: Svbony SV165 30/120
Guide camera: ZWO ASI120MM-S
Guide camera filter: Astronomik UV/IR cut

Acquisition details

Total integration time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Acquisition: ZWO AsiAir Plus
Processing: PixInsight
Location: Luxembourg

Where the universe begins…