Cookie consent

AstroBin saves small pieces of text information (cookies) on your device in order to deliver better content and for statistical purposes. You can disable the usage of cookies by changing the settings of your browser. By browsing AstroBin without changing the browser settings, you grant us permission to store that information on your device.

I agree
Getting plate-solving status, please wait...
Smoky Nebulosity Near Berkeley 59, 


            Robert Churan
Smoky Nebulosity Near Berkeley 59

Smoky Nebulosity Near Berkeley 59

Technical card

Resolution: 5400x3600

ZWO Blue 1.25": 20x512"
ZWO Green 1.25": 19x512"
ZWO Luminance 1.25": 60x512"
ZWO Red 1.25": 20x512"

Integration: 16.9 hours

Darks: ~50

Flats: ~50

Bias: ~50 job: 2982253

RA center: 0.543 degrees

DEC center: 67.429 degrees

Pixel scale: 0.380 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 359.333 degrees

Field radius: 0.342 degrees

Data source: Backyard


A beautiful young open cluster of stars located 3,300 light years from us from within the Sh2-171 emission region in the constellation of Cepheus. The cluster itself is around 2 million years old, making it relatively young as far as astronomical time scales go.

The cluster itself is home to many superluminous ionizing stars (classes O-B3), the most prominent of which is BD+66 1673. This star is an eclipsing binary which has an O5V star with a surface temperature of 45,000 K and a brightness around 100,000 times that of our sun. This makes it one of the hottest and brightest stars within a kiloparsec of the Sun. It is believed that this is one of the primary ionizing stars for the region of Ced 214. It also provides the radiation shaping the cold molecular pillars within the nebulous region, shown up as the dark filaments both thick and thin in this image.

Cold molecular pillars, colloquially known as "elephant trunks," are a type of interstellar matter which can be found in molecular clouds. They form around bright, UV-emitting O and B class stars. The UV radiation does not ionize evenly throughout the nebula, and subsequently dense clumps of gas, known as evaporating gaseous globules or EGGs, are formed. These act as shields for gases behind them from stellar winds, and the columns of gas that get eroded away "downwind" of the EGGs, combined with the EGGs themselves, form the structures of the trunks. From what astronomers can tell from multi-wavelength EM studies, they consist of cold (20 K) cores surrounded by warm (60 K) gas with hot (250-320 K) outer shells. The most famous examples are the Pillars of Creation within M16 and the dark structures within the Rosette Nebula, though the presence of magnetic field interactions around C 50 cause the trunks to twist and wrap around one another, forming a double helix.

Finding a good combination of colors was a challenge on this one, but I'm proud of what I pulled through. I kept the nebulosity darker and gave the image a slightly "smoky" appearance. This was to preserve and avoid white-washing the chrominance.

Cheers & CS,



Robert Churan
License: None (All rights reserved)

Sky plot

Sky plot


Smoky Nebulosity Near Berkeley 59, 


            Robert Churan