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Astr112 Photography Projects, Fall 2007

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Cocoon Nebula, Nathaniel Schmidt

Cocoon Nebula

This beautiful cacophony of color is an emission nebulosity that resides within the constellation Cygnus. The vibrant colors are produced by the ionization of gasses surrounding the twenty odd stars within the cluster. Referred to scientifically as an H II region, these gasses are warmed by the intense heat of the stars. The heaven-roving eye of Thomas E. Espin receives the kudos for finding this violet wonder. By making use of a pair of telescopes, 18 and 24 inches in size, the man of the cloth found the Cocoon Nebula in 1899. Because his observations were quite thorough, and while others make have seen this nebulosity prior, Espin is credited with its discovery.

The image above shows the heated gasses in all their vibrant glory. Since the nebula is smaller in stature, it requires a telescope to observe its light, let alone its colors. Four exposures where compiled to result in this image. The first exposure was taken with a clear filter, providing a reference photo. Each subsequent exposure was taken with a primary color filter. By doing this, each of the emitted colors could be exemplified and captured. The compilation of the four images gifts us with this great wonder of the heavens. Located 4000 light years away, the nebula is only perceivable by means of a telescope. Yet even at such distance we can see God's majesty, His "brightest heaven of invention."


Nemiroff, Robert and Bonnell, Jerry. "IC 5146: The Cocoon Nebula" Nasa Astronomy Picture of the Day http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap021014.html

Lodriguss, Jerry "Cocoon Nebula" AstroPix

Sanqunetti, Doug "Cocoon Nebula" Doug's Astro

Garcia, Julia and Jessica. "IC5146." National Optical Astronomy Observatory

Uyematsu, Roy "Nebulae." Roy's Astronomy Page http://www.roystarman.com/nebulae.htm

Right Ascension (J2000) 22:53:42
Declination (J2000) 47:18:30
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 300 seconds in (BVRC)
Date observed

November 1 (BVRC)