THE WIZARD NEBULA (NGC7380)

THE WIZARD NEBULA (NGC7380)

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NGC7380 known as the Wizard Nebula taken from Al Sadeem Observatory last September 22, 2018 using Vixen ED115S telescope and ZWO1600MC-cool CMOS camera mounted on Skywatcher EQ6. Stacked and post-processed in Pixinsight. (Image Credit: Al Sadeem Astronomy)

NGC 7380, known as the Wizard Nebula, is an emission nebula located about 7200 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cepheus (the king). It was discovered by William Herschel’s sister Caroline, in 1787. In fact, it is a open star cluster associated with nebulosity in which the orientation of the stars, stellar dust and gas created a shape resembling to a fictional medieval sorcerer.

Astronomers thought that about 5 million years or so ago, this huge diffuse molecular cloud (about 200 light-years diameter) collapsed under its own gravity caused by the influence of a nearby supernova explosion and formed a cluster of hundreds of stars. In turn, these newly-born hot stars (particularly the binary star HD215835 and others) emit intense radiation, ionizing the surrounding gas which makes it glow, thus producing an emission nebula.

At magnitude +7.2, it cannot be easily seen with the naked eye. You need at least a 4 inch telescope or higher to spot it. Like any other nebula, it will only appear as a faint smudge with some bluish-white stars scattered in view when observed visually. Long-exposure photography is necessary to reveal more stars and its reddish nebulosity, or more preferably using narrowband H-alpha and/or OII) filters (either, where most details are resolved. The nebula is located 22h 47m right ascension and 58° 06′ declination. Simplicity speaking, draw an imaginary diagonal line from ζ Cep (Cepheus’ left shoulder) to δ Cep and extend until you could see a cluster of stars (see figure below).

Location of the Wizard Nebula in the Sky (Graphic courtesy of Stellarium)

REFERENCES

The Wizard Nebula, a nebula surrounding the star cluster NGC 7380. (2012, March 14). Retrieved from http://annesastronomynews.com/photo-gallery-ii/nebulae-clouds/the-wizard-nebula-sh2-142-a-bright-diffuse-nebula-surrounds-the-developing-open-star-cluster-ngc-7380-which-spans-some-110-light-years-it-lies-7200-light-years-away-in-cepheus/

Trosper, J. (2014, June 24). Astronomy Photo of the Day: 6/24/14 – The Wizard Nebula. Futurism. Retrieved from https://futurism.com/apotd-wizard-nebula

Wikipedia contributors. (2018, April 8). NGC 7380. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=NGC_7380&oldid=835379127

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