Christ­mas Tree Cluster (NGC 2264) in Monoceros

Christ­mas Tree Cluster (NGC 2264) is an extremly bright and extremly obvi­ous open cluster in Mono­cer­os in the cen­ter of the field. In long exposed images, the cluster ist sur­roun­ded by a sym­phony of nebu­los­ity whose bright and dark folds seems to ripple across space like vis­ible sound waves. Below the cluster, one can find the fam­ous Cone Neb­ula, while to the upper right, Fox Fur Neb­ula (Sh2-273) can be spotted.

Below of the cen­ter to the right, Hubble’s Vari­able Neb­ula (NGC 2261) can be found, also known as Cald­well 46. Wil­li­am Her­schel dis­covered this fan-shaped glow 1783. The neb­u­lous object includes R Mono­cerot­is, a 10th mag star at the south­ern tip of the fan. His­tor­ic­ally the star has var­ied between mag­nitude 9.5 and 13.0.

Long exposed Ha data has been com­bined with col­or data to cre­ate this image.

[descrip­tion from O’Meara]


Taka­hashi FSQ-106EDX III
Astro­don Gen2
HaR­GB 320:140:130:160 min.
ROSA Remote Obser­vat­or­ies South­ern Alps
© Mar­tin Ruster­holz, Astrophotographer

Find­er Chart Christ­mas Tree Cluster (NGC 2264)

Christmas Tree Cluster Sky Chart - Astrophotography Martin Rusterholz

Image cre­ated by Skychart

About Me

Hello, my name is Martin Rusterholz. I’m a Swiss amateur astrophotographer living near Zurich, the biggest town in Switzerland. My interest in astronomy started when I was 16. At that time, I built my first Newtonian telescope and mount. I studied physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) which was the only study including at least some aspects of astronomy and astrophysics. “Looking at the nights sky is an experience touching everybody deeply inside, something common to all human beings independent to the language spoken by the individuals”. Deep-sky astrophotography is my passion.