Detail View: NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Collection: NGC 2264: Stars, Dust, and Gas

Title: 
NGC 2264: Stars, Dust, and Gas
Explanation: 
The nebula surrounding bright star S Mon is filled with dark dust and glowing gas. The strange shapes [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap000924.html ] that haunt this star forming region originate from fine interstellar dust [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap990509.html ] reacting in complex ways [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap981118.html ] to the energetic light and hot gas being expelled by the young stars. The above picture [ http://www.mso.anu.edu.au/~bessell/thumbnails/ ], in representative color [ http://www.atnf.csiro.au/pasa/17_2/bessell/paper/ ], isolates the northern part of a greater nebula designated NGC 2264 [ http://www.aao.gov.au/images/captions/aat014.html ], which lies about 2500 light-years [ http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/980211a.html ] away and includes the Cone Nebula [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap960301.html ]. The blue glow directly surrounding S Mon [ http://www.seds.org/messier/xtra/ngc/n2264.html ] results from reflection [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/reflection_nebulae.html ], where neighboring dust reflects light from the bright star. The more diffuse red glow results from emission [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/emission_nebulae.html ], where starlight ionizes hydrogen [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap010113.html ] gas. Pink areas are lit by a combination of the two processes. A small group of stars surrounds S Mon [ http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-bib_query?bibcode=1993PASP..105..324P ], the brightest star in the picture and a star visible with the naked eye toward the constellation [ http://www.astro.wisc.edu/~dolan/constellations/extra/constellations.html ] of Monoceros [ http://www.hawastsoc.org/deepsky/mon/index.html ].
Credit and Copyright: 
Michael Bessell (RSAA, ANU [ http://msowww.anu.edu.au/ ]), MSO [ http://msowww.anu.edu.au/msovc/ ]
keyword: 
NGC 2264
facet_where: 
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
facet_what: 
Monoceros
original url: 
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap010424.html
UID: 
SPD-APOD-ap010424