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

NGC 2264: Stars, Dust, and Gas
The nebula surrounding bright star S Mon is filled with dark dust and glowing gas. The strange shapes [ ] that haunt this star forming region originate from fine interstellar dust [ ] reacting in complex ways [ ] to the energetic light and hot gas being expelled by the young stars. The above picture [ ], in representative color [ ], isolates the northern part of a greater nebula designated NGC 2264 [ ], which lies about 2500 light-years [ ] away and includes the Cone Nebula [ ]. The blue glow directly surrounding S Mon [ ] results from reflection [ ], where neighboring dust reflects light from the bright star. The more diffuse red glow results from emission [ ], where starlight ionizes hydrogen [ ] gas. Pink areas are lit by a combination of the two processes. A small group of stars surrounds S Mon [ ], the brightest star in the picture and a star visible with the naked eye toward the constellation [ ] of Monoceros [ ].
Credit and Copyright: 
Michael Bessell (RSAA, ANU [ ]), MSO [ ]
NGC 2264
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
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