IC 5146 The Cocoon Nebula

ic5146Click here for an annotated version of this target.

IC 5146, also known as the Cocoon Nebula, is a reflection/emission nebula in Cygnus’s constellation. IC5146 is a stellar nursery that is an active star-forming region.

There is a dark nebula B168 that surrounds the cluster and forms a tail behind the Cocoon. IC5146 is about 4000 light-years away and was first discovered by Thomas Espin in 1899

This was captured at a quarter moon using an Optolong L-Pro 2″ filter. I had to throw out an hour of data because of N.I.N.A did not recenter the image after a meridian flip, and the target was out of the field of view.

Processing Info

I went through the Blink process in PixInisght and found the best 18 frames. Stacked them using Batch Preprocessing.

The following processes were performed in PixInsight:

  • Dynamic Crop
  • Dynamic Background Extraction
  • Automatic Background Extraction
  • Background Neutralization
  • Photometric Color Calibration
  • Histogram Transformation
  • Curves Transformation
  • Morphological Transformation
  • MultiScale Linear Transform
  • HDR Multiscale Transform

Once I found what I liked, I saved the files, went to Photoshop, and ran Topaz AI DeNoise. This is an amazing plugin that works like magic.

If anyone is curious, here are the full-res versions of the images.

The area of the sky in CygnusHere you can see the area of the sky in Cygnus imaged.

Acquisition Data

  • Telescope: Explore Scientific ED127 Air-Spaced Triplet Apochromatic Refractor
  • Camera: ASI071MC Pro
  • Guide Scope: Orion ST80
  • Guide Camera: ASI290MM Mini. Dithering every image at 1 pixel each time.
  • Mount: iOptron CEM60
  • Software: NINA for image acquisition. PixInsight is used for stacking and editing. Imported to Photoshop for final touchup and watermarking.
  • Other Accessories: AstroZap Dew Heater, Explore Scientific 2″ Field Flattener, MoonLite CFL 2.5″ Focuser, High Res Stepper Motor, V3 Controller, Pegasus Astro Power Box Advance
  • Filters: Optolong L-Pro 2″
  • Exposure Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (18 X 300 seconds). Gain 90, -10°C bin 1×1
  • Exposure Start: 23:09
  • Date: July 14, 2020
  • Location: Voorhees State Park, NJ, United States
  • GPS Coordinates: Lat. 40.68187, Long. -74.89797
  • Temperature: 74°F/23.3°C
  • Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 4
  • Astrometry.net job: 3814124
  • Avg. Moon age: 23.5 Days
  • Avg. Moon phase: 35.78%
  • RA center: 21h 53′ 24″
  • DEC center: +47° 15′ 50″
  • Orientation: 272.693 degrees
  • Field radius: 0.836 degrees
  • Magnitude: 7.2
  • Resolution: 3720 x 2330