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Astr112 Photography Projects, Fall 2007

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Iris Nebula(NGC 7023), Hannah Kett

Iris Nebula

The Iris Nebula, NGC 7023, is not only a reminder of a flower but is also an example of a reflection nebula.  Within the nebula, there is a hot, young star that is giving off heat and light causing the dust around it to glow.  This particular nebula is 1300 light-years away.  The blue in the reflection nebula is a result of the dust scattering the light waves from the star.  The same effect causes our sky to be blue.  The nebula is in the northern constellation of Cepheus among many other new stars.  The common name of the Iris Nebula was only acquired recently.  An astronomer Tony Hallas said that his wife saw a photo of the nebula and said it reminded her of an Iris.  The name stuck as other astronomers saw the connection between the astronomical structure and the flower.

In this image, though the reflection is not extremely evident, blue light is emanating from the center.  The star, as is characteristic of a reflection nebula, is emanating a lot of light.  The dust surrounding the star, though not as expansive as usually seen, contains blue light and dark regions.  The blue, as said before, is a result of the scattering of light by dust particles surrounding the star.   The dark portions of the picture can also be attibuted to dust. This dust is blocking the light leading to dark portions on the picture where stars are not seen. The linear size of the object using this picture would be 1.5 light-years by 2.3 light-years.  This is a beautiful example of God’s creation and how each object should be a reminder of everything he has made.  That is why when we look into space we can be reminded of the small flower at our feet.

References:
Davis, Thomas V. "Wisps of the Iris Nebula " Astronomy Picture of the Day. <http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap070626.html>

Gabany, R.Jay . "Astrophoto: The Iris Nebula by Tom Davis." Universe Today. <http://www.universetoday.com/2006/09/14/astrophoto-the-iris-nebula-by-tom-davis/>

Right Ascension (J2000) 21:0:30
Declination (J2000) +68:10:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 120 seconds in C, 300 seconds in BVR
Date observed

October 19, 2007 (CBVR)