Astronomy Picture of the Day



The Snowflake Cluster versus the Cone Nebula

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#100341 by @ 10.05.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
The Snowflake Cluster versus the Cone Nebula


Explanation:
Strange shapes and textures can be found in the neighborhood of the Cone Nebula.

These patterns result from the tumultuous unrest that accompanies the formation of the
open cluster of stars known as
NGC 2264, the
Snowflake cluster.

To better understand this process,
a detailed image of this region was taken in two colors of infrared light by the orbiting
Spitzer
Space Telescope
.

Bright stars from the
Snowflake cluster dot the field.

These stars soon heat up and destroy the gas and
dust mountains in which they formed.

One such dust mountain is the famous Cone Nebula, visible in the
above image on the left, pointing toward a bright star near the center of the field.

The entire
NGC 2264 region is located about 2,500
light years away toward the constellation of the
Unicorn
(Monoceros).




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