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Astr111 Photography Projects, Fall 2005

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Cocoon Nebula, Erin Slenk

Cocoon Nebula

 

The Cocoon Nebula is a result of the center star which was formed 100,000 years ago. Some speculations say that the center star created a hole in a molecular cloud which allowed the glowing, colored material to flow out. This center star is still the main energy source for emitted and reflected light in this nebula. The center star is also responsible for exciting the surrounding hydrogen gas to emit light. Inside the nebula is an open cluster of about 20 stars which are held together by gravitational attraction and originate from gas and dust clouds in the Milky Way. This nebula is approximately 4,000 light years away toward the constellation of Cygnus.

The Cocoon Nebula is an emission nebula (interstellar plasma which absorbs and re-emits electromagnetic radiation from close by hot young stars), a reflection nebula (visible because of light from nearby stars scattering off of dust particles) and an absorption nebula.The emission aspect gives the nebula it's blue color while the reflection results in red. Radiation from hot, young stars, especially the dominant one in the middle, lights the nebula. Some of the gas is so hot it emits light of its own. The nebula is 12 arc minutes in angular size and 13.96 arc minutes in linear size.

 

References:

CPEP

NASA

 

Right Ascension (J2000) 21:53
Declination (J2000) 47
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in CR, 300 seconds in BV
Date observed

October 6, 2005 (C)

October 7, 2005 (VR)

October 11, 2005 (B)