The Elephant Trunck area in IC 5070

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About this Image

This crop on the central part of the Pelican Nebula (IC 5070) is showing the bright and complex shock front featuring a similar shape as the famous Cygnus Wall in the larger North America Nebula. Highly energised shock fronts give a high contrast to the adjacent areas, filled with complex dark gas and dust lanes.

The light from young energetic stars is slowly transforming cold gas to hot gas, with the advancing boundary between the two known as an ionization front. Particularly dense and intricate filaments of cold gas are visible along the front.

Intense radiation from several massive stars is eroding the surrounding molecular cloud. In regions shadowed by dense clumps of gas and dust, parts of the cold molecular cloud survive to produce the long “pillars” of dusty material. A faint jet (known as Herbig-Haro object 555) squirts out of the tip of the extended central pillar, indicating the presence of an unseen protostar. Star formation continues in the dusty and opaque interior of these clouds. Other HH objects in the left part of the image are HH 563, HH 564, HH 565. The Pelican-North American nebula complex (“W80”) is located a few degrees east of the bright star Deneb in the constellation Cygnus, about 1,800 light-years distant from Earth.
North is to the right.

Compare a mapped color image here.
Compare a wider view on this complex taken with the f/3 setup here.

Technical Details


410mm cassegrain in secondary focus at f/10

Mount MK-100 GEM
Camera SBIG STL-11000M at -19C, internal filter wheel
Filters Baader LRGB + H-alpha (7 nm)
Date July 27-28, 2009.
Location Wildon/Austria
Sky Conditions mag 5.5 sky, raw FWHM 1.5-1.8", temperature 15 C,
Exposure Ha:L:R:G:B = 150:120:60:60:60 minutes (20 min subs for LRGB, 30 min subs for Ha), all 1x1.
Programs used Maxim DL 4.5;
Photoshop CS3