Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day
Posted on 12/25/2008 9:14:10 AM PST by sig226
Explanation: 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. The wide mosaic spans about 3/4 degree or 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 convoluted pelt lies at the upper left, bright variable star S Mon immersed in the blue-tinted haze just below the Fox Fur, and the Cone Nebula at the far right. Of course, the stars of NGC 2264 are also known as the Christmas Tree star cluster. The triangular tree shape traced by the stars appears sideways here, with its apex at the Cone Nebula and its broader base centered near S Mon.
Image on the left looks like the head of a dear.
Wow, it’s like better than Christmas.
I see an ewe, an angel, and if you tilt your head to the left and view the right side of the picture, it looks like Mary holding Jesus with Joseph beside her.
But then, it’s Christmas isn’t it?
I see the fox and the unicorn, very cool, but I’m missing the Christmas tree.
One star brighter than the others signalling the birth of Jesus. How appropriate for today.
just beautiful! I see the fox, maybe see the unicorn in front of the fox, and see the sideways blue Christmas tree shape, but i also see a knome with a shepard’s crook in the middle - or is that the unicorn? anyway, just beautiful. Thanks!