The Elephant's Trunk nebula is a concentration of interstellar gas and dust within the much larger ionized gas region IC1396 located in the constellation Cepheus about 2,400 light years away from Earth. The piece of the nebula shown here is the dark, dense globule IC1396A; it is commonly called the Elephant's Trunk nebula because of its appearance at visible light wavelengths, where there is a dark patch with a bright, sinuous rim. The bright rim is the surface of the dense cloud that is being illuminated and ionized by a very bright, massive star that is just to the west of IC1396A. The entire IC1396 region is ionized by the massive star, except for dense globules that can protect themselves from the star's harsh ultraviolet rays.!