2020 March 10

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Wide Field: Fox Fur, Unicorn, and Christmas Tree
Image Credit & Copyright:
Greg Gurdak

Explanation: What do the following things have in common: a cone, the fur of a fox, and a Christmas tree? Answer: they all occur in the constellation of the unicorn (Monoceros). Pictured as a star forming region and cataloged as NGC 2264, the complex jumble of cosmic gas and dust is about 2,700 light-years distant and mixes reddish emission nebulae excited by energetic light from newborn stars with dark interstellar dust clouds. Where the otherwise obscuring dust clouds lie close to the hot, young stars they also reflect starlight, forming blue reflection nebulae. The featured wide-field image spans over three times the diameter of a full moon, covering over 100 light-years at the distance of NGC 2264. Its cast of cosmic characters includes the Fox Fur Nebula, whose convoluted pelt lies just to the lower right of the image center, bright variable star S Mon visible just above the Fox Fur, and the Cone Nebula just to the left. Given their distribution, the stars of NGC 2264 are also known as the Christmas Tree star cluster.

Tomorrow’s picture: extreme boom

Greg Gurdak

说明: 下列的物体有何交集:尖锥、狐皮和圣诞树?答案来啰!它们都是麒麟座内的天体。这幅影像所呈现的恒星形成区,编录号为NGC 2264,在这个距离约2,700光年远的复合天体,汇集了云气和尘埃云,以及被诞生于黝黑星际尘埃云内的新恒星之高能星光,激发出的泛红发射星云。当不透光的尘埃云位在炽热年轻恒星附近时,它们会反射星光形成泛蓝的反射星云。这幅广视野主题影像的宽度,超过满月直径的3倍,涵盖了NGC 2264超过100 光年的区域。此天区里的众多天体之中,包括皮毛摊在影像中右下方的狐皮星云、狐皮星云上方的明亮变星S Mon、以及左侧的锥状星云。NGC 2264内的恒星,由于排列的形状酷似圣诞树,而有圣诞树星团的称号。

明日的图片: extreme boom

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