Observation • December 18th, 2003 • ssc2003-06a2
This image shows a visible light view of the Elephant's Trunk Nebula, an elongated dark globule within the emission nebula IC 1396 in the constellation of Cepheus. Located at a distance of 2,450 light-years, the globule is a condensation of dense gas that is barely surviving the strong ionizing radiation from a nearby massive star. The globule is being compressed by the surrounding ionized gas. The dark globule is seen in silhouette at visible-light wavelengths, backlit by the illumination of a bright star located to the left of the field of view.
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