D. Heilman Astrophotography

NGC 1396 - Elephant Trunk

An expansive Nebula approximately 2400 light years from Earth in the constellation Cepheus contains gasses and dust irradiated and compressed from a nearby massive star.  This has given rise to stellar nurseries throughout the molecular cloud which have blown away surrounding gas and dust into distinct shapes.  One such nursery exists in the large globule at the end of the gas plume in this image.  Two young stars have expelled gasses around them to form the hole that makes the eye of the Elephant.