Iris Nebula, NGC 7023

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The Iris Nebula, NGC 7023 is located 1300 light years away in the northern polar constellation Cepheus. The image is in true color and is a reflection nebula where the bright central star illuminates the surrounding dust clouds.   This image shows off the Iris Nebula’s range of colors and symmetries, embedded in surrounding fields of interstellar dust. The dominant color of the brighter reflection nebula is blue, dust grains reflecting starlight. The outer portions of the reflection nebula glow with a faint reddish photoluminesence as some dust grains convert the star’s invisible ultraviolet radiation to visible red light. The blue petals of the Iris Nebula span about six light-years. The overall image spans about the size of the moon in the sky. The image was taken with my 20” Planewave telescope and the Finger Lakes Instrument’s Pl16803 camera on a Software Bisque MEII mount and is an assembly of 96 images taken over 16 hours started in 2016 and completed in September 2018.