4 March 2017 | NGC 2264 Complex

NGC 2264 Complex Kees Scherer

Image credit & copyright: Kees Scherer | Click image to enlarge or here for full-size

Image Data

  • Date: 16 – 20 Februaru 2017
  • Location: Tomar, Portugal
  • Camera: Canon 6Da (Optolong L filter)
  • Optics: Esprit 100 triplet APO
  • Mount: 10 Micron GM2000 HPS II
  • Exposure: 108 x 240s @ ISO1600

The Cone Nebula is a complex region of hydrogen gas and interstellar dust approximately 2.700 light years from Earth that interact to form a very tortured and twisted landscape. The Cone itself  is formed by the interplay of ionized gas and a dust cloud that resemble the silhouette of a hooded Virgin with a halo clutching her child, hence the other common name for this feature, Madonna and Child.

The brightest star in the image, 15 Monocerotis (center), is part of the Christmas Tree Cluster and forms the base of the tree. A grouping of about a dozen bright stars to the right of 15 Monocerotis form the triangular shape of the Christmas tree, with the top of the tree being the bright star just right of the Cone itself.

Above 15 Monocerotis is a region known to amateur astronomers as the Fox Fur Nebula. It and the area to the left center are dust-choked regions giving the appearance of an animal’s fur coat.

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