The Pelican Nebula IC 5070


85 minute exposure

Rockingham, NC  This is an 85 minute image I made from my Seestar S50 telescope. I believe thus is my longest exposure I have made.

Compare this to the 18 minute exposure

IC 5070. 85 minute exposure

IC 5070 67 minute. 


The Pelican Nebula is slowly being transformed. IC 5070 (the official designation) is divided from the larger North America Nebulaby a molecular cloud filled with dark dust. The Pelican, however, receives much study because it is a particularly active mix of star formation and evolving gas clouds. The featured picture was produced in three specific colors — light emitted by sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen — that can help us to better understand these interactions. The light from young energetic stars is slowly transforming the cold gas to hot gas, with the advancing boundary between the two, known as an ionization front, visible in bright orange on the right. Particularly dense tentacles of cold gas remain. Millions of years from now, the Pelican nebula, bounded by dark nebula LDN 935, might no longer be known as the Pelican, as the balance and placement of stars and gas will surely leave something that appears completely different.