Molecular Cloud Complex

LBN 552 and LDN 1228 are two extremely weak molecular nebulae in Cepheus, also called "Fighting Dragons" because of their shape.


Recording data

objetct LBN 552 and LDN 1228
date of recording
April 5, 6, 7, 16 and 18, 2018
exposure 32.1 hours, NIR: 1080x10", Luminance: 1270x30", RGB 222x300"*
teleskopes Celestron RASA F2.2, Takahashi Epsilon 130D*
focal lenghts 620mm, 430 mm*
filter Baader IR Pass 685 NM, Baader Luminance, Astrodon RGB E-Series*
cameras ZWO ASI1600mmc, Atik 490Exm*
guiding 250mm guide scope, MGEN
mount Celestron CGE pro
AstroBin click here
cooperation * Jens Zippel /

Fighting Dragons

The fine nebulous structures of LBN 552 (the lighter, more frazzled area) and LDN 1228 (the fungus-like structure) in Cepheus are only a little over 11 degrees away from Polaris. The images show only part of the molecular clouds of LBN 552 and LDN 1228, which in turn belong to an even larger cloud system that extends far beyond the constellation of Cepheus. The molecular cloud of LBN 552 is considered the weakest in the Lynds Bright Nebula catalog and is therefore a real challenge for the ambitious astrophotographer.


The image was taken in cooperation with Jens Zippel from Bremen. Jens documented our work on the nebula in an exciting blog post on his website: > view the Blog

RNO 129

The central object in the arrow-shaped part of LBN 552 is an orange reflection nebula, catalogued under GN 21.00.4 and RNO 129. In the center of the reflection nebula there is a weak orange star. This is listed as a young stellar object (YSO), a star that still contracts to a main sequence star. It is probable that other young stars or protostars are hidden behind the dust.


GN 21.00.4

Herbig-Haro- and young stellar objects

Just as rich in exciting objects, is the dark cloud LDN 1228 right next door. In the dense areas of the molecular cloud, there is a cluster of young stars, including a star emitting a massive jet, similar to Hubble's Variable Nebula (NGC 2261). Numerous "Herbig-Haro objects" can also be seen in the picture. They occur when gas emitted by the star meets clouds of dust. They are often observed around a single stars, where they are aligned along its axis of rotation. Herbig-Haro objects have a very short life span of at best a few thousand years.


Herbig-Haro- and young stellar objects

Baerenstein Observatory

private observatory
Marcel Drechsler





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GN 21.00.4
Herbig-Haro- and young stellar objects


GN 21.00.4
Herbig-Haro- and young stellar objects

GN 21.00.4
Herbig-Haro- and young stellar objects

GN 21.00.4
Herbig-Haro- and young stellar objects

GN 21.00.4
Herbig-Haro- and young stellar objects