The Cocoon Nebula (Caldwell 19, NGC 5146) is a stellar nursery, with its delicate fabic of glowing hydrogen torn asunder by the solar wind of newborn stars. Imagine scanning the heavens
from a planet within this nebula. While we envision a glowing scarlet sky obscuring most stars, in reality the inhabitants would barely notice the nebula. The faint rustic shade emitted by the
hydrogen cloud would just contribute to the background canvas of the night sky. Beyond the central glow of hydrogen, surrounding instellar dust begins to dominate. Closer to the central star, this
dust reflects pale blue light. Farther away, the dust fades, and instead blocks the light of more distant background stars, especially to the west of the Cocoon.
The DSLR image above was stacked from 15 exposures of 5 minutes using a Canon 6D DSLR (Hutech-modified) through an Astro-Physics 12" Astrograph. The image below was obtained using
a CCD camera, with 56 minutes clear luminance unbinned, and 28 red, and 24 green and blue exposures binned 2x2. I used a QSI-583wsg through the same Astro-Physics 12" Astrograph.
Music: Imagine, by John Lennon