NGC 7023

Alt. Designations: NGC 7023
Object Type: emission nebula
Constellation: Cepheus
Distance: 1.4 kly
Right Ascension: 21h 01m 35.5s
Declination: +68° 10´ 10"
Visual Magnitude: 7.7
Apparent Dimension: 10.0´ X 8.0´
Best Month To View: Aug

NGC 7023 was observed 18 October 1794 by William Herschel. It is located about 3.5 degrees south west of Beta Cephei (Alfirk). This is a wonderful example of a reflection nebula. Its unusual structure gave rise to the name, the Iris Nebula. The nebula is illuminated by light for a Mag 6.8 star (HD200775) in its center. The bright blue light seen here is due to light being reflected off dust particles that survived the star's birth. There are faint hints of red color surrounding the central star. This is evidence of some hydrogen emission taking place. There is also and open cluster of stars associated with NGC 7023 that is known as Collinder 427. This loose open cluster is located on the west side of the reflection nebula within the dark region above the "petal" structure of the Iris.