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Object The Christmas Tree Cluster
Description

NGC 2264 is a large, bright cluster with an associated diffuse nebula. It was discovered by astronomer William Herschel. The cluster is visible to the unaided eye as a fuzzy patch. Binoculars reveal 20 of its brightest members with many fainter ones in the background. This grouping of stars is arranged in a triangular shape reminiscent of a Christmas tree for which this cluster is popularly named. A 6th magnitude star punctuates the top of the ‘tree’. NGC 2264 is embedded in nebulosity, which may be detected with a large telescope under dark skies. To the south of the Christmas Tree cluster lies the Cone Nebula, a remarkable object in long exposure photographs but difficult to detect visually. The Cone Nebula and the Christmas Tree Cluster are both part of a larger star-forming region.

Image
Scope Zenithstar 80 ED
Camera ST2000XCM
Mount Losmandy G11
Filters Baader IR
Guiding Self Guided
Exposure Info 5 hours total exposure time (20x15min). This image could benifit from twice this exposure time, so on the next clear night, I will gather more data
Date January 21, 2007
Copyright Photo copyright Thomas Kerns, Beluga Lake Observatory

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