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Astronomy Picture of the Day
NASA ^ | 12/25/08 | R Jay Gabany

Posted on 12/25/2008 9:14:10 AM PST by sig226


Fox Fur, a Unicorn, and a Christmas Tree
Credit & Copyright:
R Jay Gabany

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.


TOPICS: Astronomy Picture of the Day
KEYWORDS: apod; falsecolor
If that's supposed to be a Rorshach test, I see a fountain pen leeking all over a piece of paper . . .

Merry Christmas.

1 posted on 12/25/2008 9:14:10 AM PST by sig226
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To: fnord; Number57; KevinDavis; rdb3; MNJohnnie; thoughtomator; RightWhale; proudofthesouth; ...

2 posted on 12/25/2008 9:14:46 AM PST by sig226 (1/21/12 . . . He's not my president . . . Impeach Obama . . . whatever)
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To: sig226

Image on the left looks like the head of a dear.


3 posted on 12/25/2008 9:17:59 AM PST by TruthWillWin
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To: sig226

Wow, it’s like better than Christmas.


4 posted on 12/25/2008 9:19:06 AM PST by wastedyears (In Canada, Santa says "Ho Ho, eh?")
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To: sig226

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?


5 posted on 12/25/2008 9:19:45 AM PST by jenk
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To: sig226

I see the fox and the unicorn, very cool, but I’m missing the Christmas tree.


6 posted on 12/25/2008 9:22:45 AM PST by Mercat (God doesn't call me to be successful. God calls me to be faithful. Mother Teresa)
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To: sig226

One star brighter than the others signalling the birth of Jesus. How appropriate for today.


7 posted on 12/25/2008 11:11:23 AM PST by siamesecats
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To: sig226

8 posted on 12/25/2008 12:19:04 PM PST by JoeProBono ( Loose Associations - Postcards from My Mind)
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To: sig226

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!


9 posted on 12/25/2008 10:47:11 PM PST by blueplum
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