NGC2264 - The Christmas Tree Cluster & Cone Nebula in Monoceros


This nebula and star cluster is located in the constellation of Monocerus, the unicorn. The Cone Nebula (seen at center right) and Christmas Tree Cluster star cluster bear the same designation: NGC 2264. The bright star at the center of the frame is S-Monocerotis. It acts as the base of the Christmas Tree Cluster.

William Hershel made this disovery in 1785. The region is a large star-forming region that lies approximately 26 thousand light years away and has a spance of 30 light years. Also visible just above S-Monocerotis is an area known as the Fox Fur Nebula (Sh2-273). Its shape is due to the stellar winds created by nearby stars.


Telescope: Pentax 75EDHF
Cameras: Color: Canon 650D (Hap Griffin modified); ISO 1600; Raw capture
H-alpha: ST-8300 w/ Astronomik 12nm filter
Mount: iOptron CEM60
Guider: QHY 5L II-M on 60mm guide scope
Expoures: Color: 36 @ 5 min.
Ha: 30 @ 7.5min.
Processing: Color mages were focused using the camera's live view. Color subframes were captured, aligned, and combined in ImagesPlus. Ha images were captured, aligned, and combine in CCDSoft. The color and Ha images were aligned in RegiStar before being combined and adjusted in Photoshop. Topaz Detail and DeNoise were applied.
Location: My backyard observatory in SE Minnesota on 2/28/20 and 2/29/20.
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