IC 1396 is the designation of an open cluster of stars located in the northern constellation Cepheus at a distance of approximately 2.4 to 3 thousand lightyears. The cluster is surrounded by a very large emission nebula where new stars are actively being created. The major illumining source of the nebula is the bright magnitude 5.6 central star designated Struve 2816. This star is actually a multiple star complex consisting of at least 4 separate components. Located on the right side of the image is the column structure commonly called the Elephant Trunk Nebula (IC1396A). This feature is very similar to the more famous Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula. (M16)
The image above was assembled from three narrowband filtered images. These consisted of SII mapped to red, Ha mapped to green, and OIII mapped to blue. The Ha filtered image was also used for the luminance channel. The resulting image is a false color image using the standard Hubble pallet. The stars were overlaid with color data from a separate RGB image.