Saturday, January 30, 2021

Cone & Fox fur nebulae

Located in the constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn, 2,700 light-years away, you'll discover several areas of interest. This 2.5 deg widefield view highlights a few; the Hubble Variable - NGC 2261(lower right), discovered by Edwin Hubble who reported this nebula appeared to change its shape in a series of photographs taken over 8 years.  It is now known that these changes are actually caused by variations in the variable star R Mon, which illuminates the nebula. NGC 2264, containing the Cone Nebula (lower center) which contains hot B-class star about 3500 times more luminous than our Sun, is located just beyond the tip of the Cone nebula and the Bok Globule in the tip of the cone may be creating a stellar winds that energizes and shapes the nebula.

The Christmas Tree Cluster (center) with its brightest star (S Mon-center) ionizes the fine gases surrounding the cluster; causing the stellar winds which are visible throughout this image. The gentle arcs just south of S Mon highlighted in orange and blue near the center of the image are Herbig Haro objects, jets of gas from protostars embedded in the nebula, and the just to the right of S Mon is the Fox Fur Nebula, ionized primarily by S Mon and named so by its appearance of a fox stoll.

This image was created by combining emission-line images in Hydrogen-alpha (red-orange), Oxygen [O III] (light blue) and Sulfur [S II] (blue-violet) in my backyard (San Diego, Ca) over several nights.

Image by Charles Bonafilia

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