The Christmas Tree Cluster, Fox Fur Nebula and Cone Nebula in Monoceros (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 new-born stars with dust clouds. Where the otherwise obscuring dust clouds lie close to the hot, young stars they also reflect starlight, forming blue reflection nebulae.
The Cone Nebula lies in the southern part of NGC 2264, the Christmas Tree cluster, with which is shares the NGC designation. This is a rich region with much nebulosity and many interesting objects. The Christmas Tree cluster has at its base the variable star S Mon (also known as 15 Mon). If viewed with this northern portion at the bottom, the stars of this cluster form the outline of a Christmas Tree, topped by the 7th magnitude star HD 47887.
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