christmas tree star cluster

Cone Nebula

A large, faint emission nebula and bright galactic association of stars known as The Christmas Tree Cluster form object NGC 2264, which itself contains a unique feature known as the Cone Nebula. The Cone Nebula’s shape comes from a dark absorption nebula consisting of cold molecular hydrogen and dust in front of a faint emission nebula containing hydrogen ionized by nearby star S Monocerotos, the brightest star of NGC 2264. The faint nebula is approximately seven light-years long and is 2,700 light-years away from Earth.

Credit: David M. Jurasevich

flickr

Fox Fur, Unicorn, and Christmas Tree by Daniele Malleo
Via Flickr:
Clouds of glowing hydrogen gas fill this colorful skyscape in the faint but fanciful constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn. A star forming region cataloged as NGC 2264, the complex jumble of cosmic gas and dust is about 2,700 light-years distant and mixes reddish emission nebulae excited by energetic light from newborn stars with dark interstellar dust clouds. Where the otherwise obscuring dust clouds lie close to the hot, young stars they also reflect starlight, forming blue reflection nebulae. This image cover nearly 1.5 full moons, covering 40 light-years at the distance of NGC 2264. Its cast of cosmic characters includes the the Fox Fur Nebula, whose dusty, convoluted pelt lies just below the center, bright variable star S Monocerotis immersed in the blue-tinted haze over the Fox Fur, and the Cone Nebula pointing to the middle from the left of the frame. Of course, the stars of NGC 2264 are also known as the Christmas Tree star cluster. The triangular tree shape traced by the stars has its apex at the Cone Nebula.[description from NASA APOD] Data captured in Dec 2016 from SRO in California Total exposure time: 29.5 hours. (L:R:G:B:Ha) 4.5:6:5:5:9 hours Scope: Ceravolo C300 @ f/4.9 = 1470mm FL Mount: AstroPhysics 1100 AE Camera: FLI PL16803 Focuser: Optec Filters: Astrodon Guiding: Lodestar II / Tak guide scope Image scale: 1.26 arcsec/pixel Processing: PixInsight 1.8 *Image processing credit: Daniele Malleo *Data Acquisition Credit: John Kasianowicz, Daniele Malleo, Rick Stevenson, Jose Mtanous, Scott Johnson, Bret Charles

2

Environs of S Monocerotis
Glowing hydrogen gas fills this gorgeously detailed sky view centered on the variable star S Monocerotis (S Mon) in the faint but fanciful constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn. A star forming region (NGC 2264), the complex jumble of cosmic gas and dust is about 2,700 light-years distant and mixes reddish emission nebulae excited by energetic light from newborn stars with dark interstellar dust clouds. Where the otherwise obscuring dust clouds lie close to stars they also reflect starlight, forming blue reflection nebulae. Its cast of cosmic characters includes the Cone Nebula, the Fox Fur Nebula, and the Christmas Tree star cluster. Text source adapted from APOD.

Credit: Jason Jennings