And we finally have a decent picture! This time, it’s a very cool deep space object (DSO) that I’ve spent a grant total of 10 hours worth of exposures on: The Cone Nebula! (and Christmas Tree cluster) in the constellation of Monoceros.
As a point of trivia, the designation NGC 2264 actually encompasses both of these objects, but most stellarium programs will slew and point you to the Christmas Tree cluster instead of the more interesting Cone Nebula. This is a very big problem when your telescope’s field of view just isn’t large enough to fit both objects in the frame comfortably!
This is a large, very faint hydrogen-alpha region that’s actually part of much larger complex, and quite close to the Great Orion Nebula molecular supercomplex. The actual shape of the cone comes from cold molecular (non-ionised) hydrogen and dust in front of the much larger emission nebula. The ‘Christmas Tree’ is actually pointing down towards the bottom right corner in this exposure. The base of the tree is the brightest star in the frame, and the two sides point down towards the Cone Nebula.
This picture was composed of 4 hours (12×20 min) of hydrogen-alpha exposures, and 2 hours each (12×10 min) of red, green, and blue exposures.