Ele­phant’s Trunk Neb­ula (IC 1396A)

Elephant's Trunk Nebula (IC 1396A) Astrophotography Martin Rusterholz

The Ele­phant’s Trunk neb­ula (IC 1396A) is a con­cen­tra­tion of inter­stel­lar gas and dust in the star cluster IC 1396 and ion­ized gas region loc­ated in the con­stel­la­tion Ceph­eus about 2,400 light years away from Earth. The piece of the neb­ula shown here is the dark, dense glob­ule IC 1396A; it is com­monly called the Ele­phant Trunk neb­ula because of its appear­ance at vis­ible wavelengths, where it is a dark patch with a bright, sinu­ous rim. The bright rim is the sur­face of the dense cloud that is being illu­min­ated and ion­ized by a very bright, massive star that is just to the west of IC 1396A.

The Ele­phant Trunk neb­ula is now thought to be site of star form­a­tion, con­tain­ing sev­er­al very young (less than 100,000 yr) stars that were dis­covered in infrared images in 2003. Two older (but still young, a couple of mil­lion years) stars are present in a small, cir­cu­lar cav­ity in the head of the glob­ule. Winds from these young stars may have emp­tied the cavity.


RCOS 14.5” f/​8
Astro­don Gen2
LRGB 260:120:120:120 min.
ROSA Remote Obser­vat­or­ies South­ern Alps
© Mar­tin Ruster­holz, Astrophotographer

Find­er Chart Ele­phant’s Trunk Nebula

Elephant's Trunk Nebula (IC 1396A) Sky Chart Astrophotography Martin Rusterholz

Image cre­ated by Skychart

About Me

Hello, my name is Martin Rusterholz. I’m a Swiss amateur astrophotographer living near Zurich, the biggest town in Switzerland. My interest in astronomy started when I was 16. At that time, I built my first Newtonian telescope and mount. I studied physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) which was the only study including at least some aspects of astronomy and astrophysics. “Looking at the nights sky is an experience touching everybody deeply inside, something common to all human beings independent to the language spoken by the individuals”. Deep-sky astrophotography is my passion.