Object name: VDB142

Designation(s): VDB142,

VdB 142 is classed as a reflection nebula. It is part of a huge open cluster in Cepheus called IC 1396. This is both a cluster and the hydrogen gas it formed out of, somewhat like NGC 7380. Though this complex is far larger, almost as large as the Veil complex. This hydrogen cloud has areas too dense to glow so they show up as dark nebulae. If a star is in a dark nebula it lights up this dense dust forming a reflection nebula. The dark complex coming across the image from the right to the left is often called the "Elephant Trunk Nebula." Inside it near the left end, by a bright blue star, is the reflection nebula vdB 142 though the name often is used to refer to the entire "Elephant Trunk". The trunk is formed when the solar wind of a one or more supermassive stars hits a dense region where star formation is likely occurring. The contact point of these two usually shows as a bright red region, brightest right up to the dark region as is the case here. Sharp-eyed viewers will see two very small Bok globules near the top of the photo a bit left of center. They are close together and each close to a star, one blue, one orange. Individual stars may be forming there. Other famous examples of elephant trunks are the "Pillars of Creation" in M16 the Eagle Nebula made famous by a Hubble image and the Horsehead nebula in Orion. You can read more about this object and see a photo taken at the US Naval Observatory at:
No slam on the Naval Observatory, but I think my shot is prettier than theirs.

14" LX200R @ f/10, Ha=3x30' L=6x10' RGB=2x10', STL-11000XM, Paramount ME

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