IC 5146 – Cotton Candy in the Sky

The famous Cocoon Nebula (IC 5146) is thought to be between 3300 and 4000 light years away from Earth. Located in the constellation of Cygnus, it is about 15 light years in diameter. The Cocoon is actually a young stellar “nursery”, creating the hot, young, stars seen in its center. Like other stellar nurseries, the Cocoon Nebula is at the same time, an emission nebula, a reflection nebula, as well as an absorption nebula. There’s the pinkish red of the hydrogen gas excited by the hot stars, as well as the bluish starlight reflected by the dust in the surrounding molecular cloud. Also visible are the various dark molecular dust lanes in the region which vary from thin to deeply obscuring. For this second rendition (first one from 2018) I added Ha, making the very faint hydrogen clouds more apparent.

IC 5146, the Cocoon Nebula

Telescope: 16″ f3.75 Dream Scope
Camera: FLI ML16803
Mount: ASA DDM85
Exposure: 15 hours (37x300s Ha + 32x300s L + 3x26x300s RGB)
Date: July 2018 (LRGB) + August 2020 (Ha)
Location: Southern Alps, France

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