Iris Nebula (NGC 7023) -- Reflection Nebula in Cepheus
The young massive binary stars HD 200775 formed 6,400 years ago from a giant dust cloud.
The intense light from the twin stars currently reflects off of the remaining/surrounding dust
cloud forming the Iris Nebula (NGC 7023). From a dark site, I have been told, that a pair of
binoculars can see the nebula as a slightly swollen star (HD 200775 plus the nebula). From
my suburban backyard, I could not repeat this feat with my binoculars. However, with the
155mm refractor the reflection nebula was not difficult to see at low power but to tease out
detail I bumped the power to 182x.
At the higher power, the surrounding nebula appeared mottled and its edges dissolved into
the surrounding black space. There appeared to be a north-south component to its structure,
but this too was ghostly and strained the eyes to see.