Strange shapes and textures can be found in neighborhood
of the Cone Nebula.
The unusual shapes
originate from fine interstellar
dust reacting in
complex ways with the energetic light and
hot gas being expelled by the young stars.
The brightest star on the right of the
above picture is S Mon,
while the region just below it has been nicknamed the
Fox Fur Nebula for its color and structure.
The blue glow directly surrounding
S Mon results from
where neighboring dust reflects light from the bright star.
The red glow
that encompasses the whole region results not only from
dust reflection but also emission from
hydrogen gas ionized by starlight.
is part of a young open
cluster of stars named
NGC 2264, located about 2500 light years away toward the constellation of the Unicorn
Even though it points right at S Mon, details of the origin of the mysterious geometric Cone Nebula, visible on the far left, remain
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