PhotographerHoward H Bower
Location of photoChandler, AZ
Date/Time of photo11/29-12/4/2012
EquipmentImaging Telescope - Takahashi FSQ106ED@F/5
Imaging Camera - FLI ML16803
Guiding - SX Lodestar & Astrodon MOAG
Mount - AP Mach 1 GTO
DescriptionThe Chrismas Tree Cluster and the Cone Nebula were both discovered by William Herschel; he discovered the cluster in 1784, and the nebula in 1785. NGC 2264 is a large, bright cluster easily visible with binoculars. It consists of about 80 stars from 8th magnitude, and spans half a degree. NGC 2264 is embedded in an extensive nebulosity, which may be seen with larger telescopes under clear, dark skies. At the south end of the cluster lies the famous "Cone Nebula", an object that is difficult to detect visually.
The cluster spans some 20 light years, and lies about 2,600 light years away. The nebula belongs to a much larger complex, which is currently an active star forming region across and just north of the 4th magnitude star Xi Persei.