NGC 2264 - The Christmas Tree Nebula in Monoceros
Copyright 2007 Hap Griffin
NGC2264 is a loose
cluster of some 600 relatively young stars forming an asterism known as the
Christmas Tree cluster. In this composition, the tree is upside down, with
the base of it being the bright star near the center top of the image and the
top of the Christmas tree being the bright star just above the cone shaped
region at the bottom. Not surprisingly, this region is called the Cone
Nebula. The entire region is awash with interstellar hydrogen, glowing
red, and dark dust. The lack of stars along the right side and upper right
of the image is caused by intervening nearly black dust that is blocking our
view of the stars beyond.
The bright star at the top that illuminates and dominates the region is S-Monocerotis, a supergiant with a luminosity some 8000 times that of our sun.
NGC 2264 lies
at a distance of 2600 light years.
November 10, 2007 Griffin/Hunter II Observatory Bethune, SC
Instrument: Canon 40D (modified IR filtering) Digital SLR through 10" Newtonian w/MPCC
Focal Ratio: f/ 4.7
Guiding: SBIG ST-237 through Orion ED80
Conditions: Clear and cold
Weather: 27 F
Exposure: 150 minutes total (30 x 5 minutes @ ISO 800)
Filters: Baader UV/IR block internal to camera
Processing: Focused and captured, RAW to TIFF conversion, flat frame calibration, Digital Development, resizing and JPEG conversion in ImagesPlus. Final tweaking in Photoshop CS2.