Sharpless 2-131 ( IC 1396)

17.5: The HII region is most prominent at 100x surrounding the triple star (2816) at the center of the scattered cluster. In the 16x80 finder without a filter, the entire cluster is clearly encased in a faint glow at least 2 in diameter which seems to be more prominent along the curving lanes of the cluster. The Daystar 300 filter gives a mild enhancement but dims the stars so the overall view is not as pleasing. Mu Cephei (Herschel's Garnet Star) is at the NE edge, ~1.5 from the center.

16x80: using a UHC filter appears as a very large, irregular nebulous glow (about 2 diameter). Very faint but definite when compared without filter. Surrounds 2816 = 5.8/7.7 at 12" and a large, faint, scattered star group. Visible without a filter as an extremely large, hazy region surrounding 2816 and fainter stars. - Steve Gottlieb

17.5: The "Elephant's Trunk" (vdB 142/above) is an unusual cometary globule (associated with star formation) on the west side of the huge but faint HII complex, IC 1396. The most contrasty view was at 100x using a UHC filter, where a 15'x5' lane was evident, particularly by rocking the scope. The "tail" of the globule or elephant's "trunk" trails to the west and is weakly illuminated on the edges, particularly on the south side. A pretty double star is embedded in the lane which shows variations in width and opacity. - Steve Gottlieb