NGC 7023 – The Iris Nebula

The Iris Nebula is a reflection nebula located in the constellation Cepheus. The nebula is lit by the bright star in the center.

NGC 7023 is roughly 1,300 light years away and 6 light years across, which means these images are capturing the cluster as how it appeared 1,300 years ago

NGC 7023 - The Iris Nebula in RGB Filters

Imaging Details

  • Processing Workflow: RGB
  • Red Filter: 50*180 seconds
  • Green Filter: 60*180 seconds
  • Blue Filter: 61*180 seconds
  • Binning: R, G, and B at 2×2
  • Total Imaging Time: 8hrs 33 minutes
  • Imaging Dates (3 nights):
    • 9/10/2020
    • 9/16/2020
    • 9/21/2020

History with Imaging the Iris

This was not the first time I tried to image the Iris Nebula. In November 2013, using a Canon T1i (unmodified) and the original mount for the Meade LX200 telescope, I obtained the following image:

Unfortunately, due to the poor tracking, I was only able to get exposures of 30 seconds.

With an upgraded mount and camera, exposures are much longer. For the updated 2020 image, I was using 3 minute exposure times. If it wasn’t for the light pollution (Bortle 6 – light suburban), this can go much higher (10-20 minute range), which would allow me to capture a lot more detail.