cederblad 201 area
cederblad 201 area Back to Index Page Previous Image Next Image
Located near the northern tip of Cepheus is this gathering of dusty nebulae and one of the most bizarre examples of cosmic coincidence currently know. First of all, the complexity of the area surrounding the dark Bok globule Barnard 175 was first noted by professional astronomers Wolf and Kopff as early as 1908. Once recognized, Max Wolf took a 2.5 hr exposure of the dusty area using a 28-inch reflector on which he found a "long, dark lacuna" attached to a much brighter nebula containing a presumably young 9th magnitude star. This twisted column of dust is now formally known as Wolf's Cave, while the brighter reflection nebula has been catalogued as Cederblad 201. Further research, however, found that the bright star responsible for the bluish reflection nebula was actually a main sequence star that happened to be traveling through the area at nearly 12 km/sec and had a chance encounter with B 175. On this full size close-up of the area, actual "shockwaves" can be recognized very near the bright star as it literally plows into the dusty globule at supersonic speeds! Now, fast forward a bit to the year 1980 when several other professionals recognize a new celestial object on the red POSS plates of this field which turns out to be an ancient planetary nebula. The irregular glow of Dengel-Hartl 5 can be spotted at the bottom of this image as a relative bright arc of ruddy nebulosity surrounding an amorphous blue-green glow with a tiny blue star near center. The tiny blue star is an aging white dwarf with a surface temperature of more than 57,000K, hot enough to ionize such atoms as Oxygen and Nitrogen thus producing the blue-green coloration. Now, all is well until the year 2001 when John Bally and Bo Reipurth discover several long thin strands of red nebulosity also near the bright reflection nebula Ced 201. Further investigation reveals that the filaments belong to an emmense super-nova remnant located merely 1300 light-years from Earth, making it one of the closest known such objects. A broad loop of this faint red nebulosity designated as SNR 110.3+11.3 can be seen spanning the above image from top-center to the lower right corner. The expansion of this ghostly bubble of shocked gas is made quite obvious by the "lack" of dust and the increase in stellar density towards the upper right corner of the frame. The light-absorbing interstellar dust in this area is literally being swept up as the expanding debris field from the SNR progresses towards the molecular cloud harboring Ced 201 and B 175. Their eminent collsion is set for some time within the next 1000 yrs! Image taken with homemade 8-inch f/5.4 astrograph and SBIG STL-11000M. LRGB image composed of 160 minutes of L and 60 minutes each R,G,B. Be sure to click on the above image for the high resolution version.