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Contains:  Cone nebula, Christmas Tree cluster, NGC 2264, NGC 2259, The star 15Mon
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NGC 2264 - Christmas Tree Nebula in SHO, 


            Douglas J Struble
NGC 2264 - Christmas Tree Nebula in SHO

NGC 2264 - Christmas Tree Nebula in SHO

Technical card

Resolution: 4402x3520

Dates:March 19, 2018March 25, 2018

Astrodon Ha 5nm: 104x240" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1
Astrodon OIII 3nm: 93x240" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1
Astrodon SII 3nm: 64x240" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1

Integration: 17.4 hours

Darks: ~50

Flats: ~50

Bias: ~250

Avg. Moon age: 5.13 days

Avg. Moon phase: 31.96%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 6.33 job: 1987529

RA center: 99.935 degrees

DEC center: 10.098 degrees

Pixel scale: 2.315 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 222.876 degrees

Field radius: 1.813 degrees

Locations: Backyard Red Zone Observatory, Taylor, MI, Michigan, United States

Data source: Backyard


While my main AP Mach1 mount is in for warranty repair, I am forced to use my portable Celestron AVX mount. Bad time of the year, as I am in small galaxy season here where I am. The Christmas Tree Nebula sets in my West at around 1:30am, so it has taken several nights.

NGC 2264 is sometimes referred to as the Christmas Tree Cluster and the Cone Nebula. However, the designation of NGC 2264 in the New General Catalogue refers to both objects and not the cluster alone.

NGC2264 is the location where the Cone Nebula, The Stellar Snowflake Cluster and the Christmas Tree Cluster are all included in this emission nebula. The Stellar Snowflake Cluster is located 2,700 light years away in the constellation Monoceros. The Monoceros constellation is not typically visible by the naked eye due to its lack of colossal stars.

The Snowflake Cluster was granted its name due to its unmistakeable pinwheel-like shape and its assortment of bright colors. The Christmas Tree star formation consists of young stars obscured by heavy layers of dust clouds. The combination of dense clouds and an array of colors creates a color map filled with varying wavelengths.

With varying youthful stars, comes vast changes to the overall structure of the cluster and nebula. For a cluster to be considered a Snowflake, it must remain in the original location the star was formed.

When referring to this nebula, there are detailed aspects that contribute to the prominent configuration of a snowflake or christmas tree, there is a diverse arrangement of brilliant colors, and an evolving process of structure.



Douglas J Struble
License: None (All rights reserved)


  • NGC 2264 - Christmas Tree Nebula in SHO, 


            Douglas J Struble
  • Final
    NGC 2264 - Christmas Tree Nebula in SHO, 


            Douglas J Struble


Added a little more contrast.

Sky plot

Sky plot


NGC 2264 - Christmas Tree Nebula in SHO, 


            Douglas J Struble