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    Bright stars outline the familiar shape of the Christmas Tree Cluster in this visible-light image, which has been rotated 180°. Another famous structure, called the Cone Nebula, sits atop the tree. It's located in the constellation Monoceros. (Image: NOAO/AURA/NSF) Mona Evans "Monoceros the Unicorn" www.bellaonline.c...

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    • Mona Evans

      Bright stars outline the familiar shape of the Christmas Tree Cluster in this visible-light image, which has been rotated 180°. It's adorned with the festive lights of baby stars. Another famous structure, called the Cone Nebula, sits atop the tree. (Image: NOAO/AURA/NSF) Mona Evans, "Cosmic White Christmas" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art300463.asp

    • Robert

      NOAO image of the nebulosity near open cluster NGC 2264, including the Cone Nebula and the Fox Fur Nebula.

    • Mona Evans

      Bright stars outline the familiar shape of the Christmas Tree Cluster in this visible-light image, which has been rotated 180°. Another famous structure, called the Cone Nebula, sits atop the tree. It's located in the constellation Monoceros. (Image: NOAO/AURA/NSF) Mona Evans "Monoceros the Unicorn" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art182324.asp

    • Mona Evans

      Bright stars outline the familiar shape of the Christmas Tree Cluster in this visible-light image, which has been rotated 180°. Another famous structure, called the Cone Nebula, sits atop the tree. It's located in the constellation Monoceros. (Image: NOAO/AURA/NSF)

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    Rosette Nebula (NGC 2237). (Image: Adam Block & Tim Puckett) The red color is hydrogen gas energized by a hot star - it's an emission nebula. The “stem” is formed by a trail of the same glowing hydrogen gas. The nebula is 5000 light years away in the constellation Monoceros.Mona Evans "Monoceros the Unicorn" www.bellaonline.c...

    The Red Square Nebula (MWC 922) (Image Credit & Copyright: Peter Tuthill (Sydney U.) & James Lloyd (Cornell)) The hot star system MWC 922 seems to be embedded in a square nebula. No one knows how this came about. Infrared combined image from Mt. Palomar in California & the Keck-2 Telescope in Hawaii. Mona Evans, "Cosmic White Christmas" www.bellaonline.c...

    Eyes and Nebulas. ©Mona Evans, “Nebulae” www.bellaonline.c...

    The Witch Head Nebula. It glows from light reflected from bright supergiant Rigel - Orion's left foot! Although Rigel is blue, the nebula is blue because the dust scatters blue light more efficiently than the longer wavelengths. (Image: George Greany) ©Mona Evans, “Nebulae” www.bellaonline.c...

    NGC 1514, discovered by William Herschel in 1790. It's also known as the Crystal Ball nebula and this image, which is the result of 10 hours of exposure using 4 filters, it certainly looks like one. Herschel would have loved seeing it like this! (Image credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona) Mona Evans, "Nebulae" www.bellaonline.c...

    Red Rectangle Nebula. There is an aging binary star at the center of the nebula, which will probably eventually become a planetary nebula. Astronomers are still trying to work out what's going on in this complex nebula. (Image Credit: ESA, Hubble, NASA; Reprocessing: Steven Marx, Hubble Legacy Archive) Mona Evans "Monoceros the Unicorn" www.bellaonline.c...

    Peony nebula star - WR 102ka - is located in the Peony nebula, the reddish cloud of dust in and around the white circle, surrounding the star. (Image: Spitzer Space Telescope) Mona Evans, "Nebulae" www.bellaonline.c...

    Blue snowball nebula (NGC 7662). A planetary nebula in the constellation Andromeda. The nebula was formed by the aging central star losing its outer layers of atmosphere. (Image credit & copyright: Chris Vedeler) Mona Evans, "Cosmic White Christmas" www.bellaonline.c...

    Helix nebula. Images from two telescopes, Spitzer (in infrared) and GALEX (in uv) were combined to get this beautiful image. There was also a bit of input for the area beyond the nebula from NASA’s all-sky Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). ©Mona Evans, “Nebulae” www.bellaonline.c...

    Carina Nebula (NGC 3372). Light is combined from 3 different filters tracing emission from oxygen (blue), hydrogen (green), and sulfur (red). (Image credit: N. Smith, University of Minnesota/NOAO/AURA/NSF) Mona Evans, "What Color Is a Nebula" www.bellaonline.c...

    NGC 6188 is an emission nebula located about 4000 ly away in the constellation Ara. The bright open cluster NGC 6193, visible to the naked eye, is responsible for a region of reflection nebulosity within NGC 6188. (Photo: Harvey, Star Shadows Remote Observatory) Mona Evans, "Nebulae" www.bellaonline.c...

    Butterfly Cluster. (Yes, I guess it does look a bit like a butterfly.) An open star cluster also known as M6. You should be able to pick out the orange giant BM Scorpii which contrasts with the hot, blue stars which comprise much of the cluster. Estimates vary, but it's around 1600 light years away. (Image Credit: AURA, NOAO, NSF) Mona Evans, "Creepy Crawlies in Space", www.bellaonline.c...

    Orion Nebula. [Image Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Robberto (STScI/ESA) et al.] It's the nearest star-forming nebula to us and much of the dust has been blown away giving an even clearer view. The image has been sharpened up by using data from both the Hubble and ESO's La Silla telescopes. ©Mona Evans, “Nebulae” www.bellaonline.c...

    NGC 2264 contains the Christmas Tree Cluster and the Cone Nebula. (They're at the top of the picture.) (Credit: J-P Metasavainio) Mona Evans, "Christmas in the Skies" www.bellaonline.c...

    Butterfly Cluster (M6 / NGC 6405). Bright open star cluster in the constellation Scorpius. Its popular name reflects the butterfly shape you can see in this picture. About eighty stars have been identified, but the cluster probably has over three hundred, mostly hot blue stars. (Image Credit: N.A.Sharp, Mark Hanna, REU program/NOAO/AURA/NSF) Mona Evans, "Scorpius the Scorpion", www.bellaonline.c...

    Globular cluster 47 Tucanae. It's 15,000 light years away in the constellation Tucana. It's so bright that even at that distance it's visible with the unaided eye. (Image credit: ESO/M.-R. Cioni/VISTA Magellanic Cloud survey. Acknowledgment: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit)

    Open star cluster Messier 50 in the constellation Monceros. (Credit: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope / Coelum) Mona Evans "Monoceros the Unicorn" www.bellaonline.c...

    Sharpless 2-106. A bipolar star-forming region that looks like a snow angel. The outstretched “wings” are lobes of super-hot gas, glowing blue, stretching outward from the central star into the colder surroundings. A ring of dust & gas orbiting the star acts like a belt, pulling the expanding nebula into an hourglass shape. (Credit: NASA, ESA, & Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)) Mona Evans, "Cosmic White Christmas" www.bellaonline.c...

    Star-forming nebula Barnard 3 looks like a Christmas wreath. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA) In this image, captured by NASA's WISE space telescope, baby stars are being born throughout the dusty region, while the "silver bell" stars are located both in front of, and behind, the nebula.

    Stars in the cluster NGC 2547. The cluster is in the constellation Vela (the sail). These bright blue stars are quite young, between 20-35 million years old. This doesn't sound young, but our Sun is middle-aged at 5 billion years, so these stars are just babies. (Image: MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile)