DSLR astrophotography by Sergi Verdugo
The Cone Nebula and the Christmas Tree Cluster
Exposure: 7×600″ @ ISO 800 (RGB) + 27×900″ @ ISO 800 (Ha)
Telescope: William Optics Megrez 88FD with Borg DG-L
Filter: Hutech IDAS LPS 2″ (RGB exposures) and Baader H-alpha 7nm 2″ (Ha exposures)
Mount: Meade LXD-75 Autostar
Camera: Modded Canon 350D
Date: January-February 2009
Location: Cabrera de Mar (suburban site near Barcelona) (Ha) and El Montseny (RGB)
Comments: Another combination of Ha data captured from home and RGB data captured from a darker place
The Cone Nebula is an H II region in the constellation Monoceros which is about 2600 light-years away from Earth. It forms part of the nebulosity surrounding the Christmas Tree Cluster. The designation of NGC 2264 refers to both objects.
The diffuse Cone Nebula lies in the southern part of NGC 2264, the northern part being the magnitude-3.9 Christmas Tree Cluster.
The cone’s shape comes from a dark absorption nebula consisting of cold molecular hydrogen and dust in front of a faint emission nebula containing hydrogen ionized by S Monocerotis, the brightest star of NGC 2264.