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The shape, visual texture, and color, combine to give the region the popular name Fox Fur Nebula. The blue glow on the left is dust reflecting light from the bright star S Mon, just beyond the left edge of the image. Mottled pink and brown areas are a combination of the cosmic dust and reddish emission from ionized hydrogen gas. S Mon is part of a young open cluster of stars, NGC 2264, located about 2,500 light years away toward the constellation of Monoceros, just north of the Cone Nebula.
Rho Ophiuchus Nebula Complex This amazing complex of nebulosity revealed on long exposure color photographs is one of the most beautiful areas of the entire night sky. It contains dark nebulae where lanes of obscuring dust hide background stars, blue reflection nebulae where the dust is illuminated by nearby stars and red emission nebulae where the hot hydrogen gas itself is glowing.
What surrounds a hotbed of star formation? In the case of the Orion Nebula -- dust. The entire Orion field, located about 1600 light years away, is inundated with intricate and picturesque filaments of dust. Opaque to visible light, dust is created in the outer atmosphere of massive cool stars and expelled by a strong outer wind of particles. The Trapezium and other forming star clusters are embedded in the nebula. The intricate filaments of dust surrounding M42 and M43 appear brown in the above image, while central glowing gas is highlighted in red. Over the next few million years much of Orion's dust will be slowly destroyed by the very stars now being formed, or dispersed into the Galaxy.