top of page

NGC 7023 Iris Nebula

NGC 7023 is a bright reflection nebula located in the constellation Cepheus. The nebula is illuminated by a young and hot star named HD 200775, which is located at the center of the nebula. The blue color of the nebula is due to the scattering of light by tiny dust particles. NGC 7023 is also known as the Iris Nebula because of its unique shape, which resembles a flower with petals. The nebula is located at a distance of approximately 1,300 light-years from Earth and has a diameter of about 6 light-years. It is a popular target for amateur astronomers and has been the subject of many astrophotography projects.

The Iris Nebula is a located 1,400 lightyears away in the Cepheus constellation. This deep telescopic image shows off the Iris Nebula's range of colors and symmetries, embedded in surrounding fields of interstellar dust. Within the Iris itself, dusty nebular material surrounds a hot, young star. The dominant color of the brighter reflection nebula is blue, characteristic of dust grains reflecting starlight. Central filaments of the reflection nebula glow with a faint reddish photoluminesence as some dust grains effectively convert the star's invisible ultraviolet radiation to visible red light. Infrared observations indicate that this nebula contains complex carbon molecules known as PAHs. The dusty blue petals of the Iris Nebula span about six light-years.

It was a challenge to shoot and process, especially when it was in the middle of spring high up north (in Iceland). I did not want to waste the effort of lugging the entire astro-imaging gear so I wasn't expecting much. Just a self note: shooting under such conditions, even though the site had Bortle 2 class dark skies was equivalent to shooting in Bortle 9 conditions. Will definitely re-visit this target with better planning (and luck) next time!

Lens: Redcat 51 

Camera: QHY 533C

Mount: iOptron CEM26

Total exposure time: 1 hour 

Filter: Astronomik L2 UV/IR filter

Shot in mid Spring during nautical twilight in Iceland!

bottom of page