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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" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art182324.asp

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" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art182324.asp

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" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art300463.asp

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Community Post: The Universe In Us

Eyes and Nebulas. ©Mona Evans, “Nebulae” http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art43407.asp

Cassini color image of "snowy" landscape of Enceladus. This terrain lies north of the geologically active south polar ridges and features a rolling terrain crosscut by narrow fractures. (Credit: NASA/Processing by Paul Schenk (Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston)) Mona Evans, "Cosmic White Christmas" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art300463.asp

R Sculptoris. This is a dying star shedding its outer layers. The image was captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) high in the Chilean desert. The planetary nebula is visible in radio emission, which is invisible to our eyes. Mona Evans, "Cosmic White Christmas" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art300463.asp

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” http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art43407.asp

A group of baby stars form a "stellar snowflake" in Spitzer Telescope observations of a dusty region near the Cone Nebula. It's sometimes called the Snowflake Cluster. Mona Evans, "Cosmic White Christmas" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art300463.asp

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" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art182324.asp

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" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art43407.asp

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" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art300463.asp

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" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art43407.asp

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" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art43407.asp

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” http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art43407.asp

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” http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art43407.asp

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" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art300516.asp

LRG 3-757. It looks like a Christmas bauble, but it's an Einstein ring. This is created when the gravity of a massive galaxy distorts the light from a more distant one. It's acting like a gravitational lens & in this case, the images of the distant blue galaxy almost complete a circle Einstein predicted the effect long before it was ever seen. (Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA) Mona Evans, "Cosmic White Christmas" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art300463.asp

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", http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art301069.asp

Snowman on the asteroid Vesta. (2011-08-06) Three craters imaged by NASA's Dawn mission. It just needs some surface features to make a hat and scarf! Mona Evans, "Cosmic White Christmas" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art300463.asp

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", http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art180929.asp