IC 5070-IC 5067, the Pelican Nebula

Click on the image for a larger version
Click on the image for a larger version

© Josep M. Drudis-2016-9, Mount Lemmon Sky Center, AZ, USA.

This image has been reprocessed (March 2019).

IC 5070 is a large, star-forming, HII region in the constellation Cygnus. These two nebulae are very close to the North America nebula (NGC 7000), a mosaic of which can be found here. This image shows just a 22×22 arcmin fragment of IC 5067 and IC 5070, the region of the “head, eye and neck” of the “Pelican”. This region, especially the “neck” has been thoroughly studied by John Bally and Bo Reipurth, who have discovered several Herbig-Haro objects in that area. Herbig-Haro (HH) objects are always associated to recently born stars. Jets of material and radiation being emitted by these stars, collide with the surrounding gas-dust environment, creating a shock bow that can emit visible radiation. Herbig and Haro focused on objects visible in photographs and recorded their spectra, showing an outstanding emission in the classical emission lines (Hydrogen, Oxygen and Sulphur). Bally and Reipurth collected (1999) all known HH objects in a catalogue with 454 objects. They kept on discovering new HH objects and have been publishing them. Anyhow, Ryan Gell and Chris Davis noticed that other objects, with less or no emission in the visible range, had the same emission characteristics and also were associated to recently born stars. They collected 1612 such objects, called by them “Molecular Hydrogen Emission-Line Objects (MHOs)” in a constantly updated catalogue.

In the annotated image below (the cropped and rotated “Neck” area of this image), the Luminosity-Halpha blend, up to eleven such objects are shown. Some of them have only HH numbers, other only MHO numbers and some have both numbers, as they appear in both catalogues.

Click to enlarge

Another remarkable feature in this image is that the “Eye” of the Pelican, usually black or very dark in LRGB images, is quite bright and with an outstanding structure-texture when imaged through Halpha filter. This fact is visible in this (LHa)-(RHa)-GB image.

The image was taken with the Schulman Telescope atop Mount Lemmon, AZ, USA. I want to thank Adam Block for his invaluable help.

Additional Information


Name(s): IC 5067 + IC 5070. The Pelican Nebula

Type: Emission Nebula. Star forming region.

RA:  20h 51m 29.7s

Dec: +44º 22’ 53.3”

Constellation: Cygnus

Size (arcmin): 80×70

Magnitude: +8.0

Distance: 2,000 ly


Date: 2016-06-07 to 2016-06-15

Location: Mount Lemmon Sky Center, AZ, USA

Size (arcmin): 22×22

Telescope: Schulman 32″ f/6.8

Camera: SBIG STX16803 (4096x4096pix)

Guiding: Astrodon MonsterMOAG off-axis guider

Total exposure: 16h45 (L: 10x15m; Ha: 15x30m; RGB: 27x15min)

Processing: CCDStack, Photoshop CC 2016

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