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Astronomy Picture of the Day

Strange shapes and textures can be found in neighborhood of the Cone Nebula. The unusual shapes originate from fine interstellar dust reacting in complex ways with the energetic light and hot gas being expelled by the young stars. The brightest star on the right of the above picture is S Mon, while the region just below it has been nicknamed the Fox Fur Nebula for its color and structure.

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In the Vicinity of the Cone Nebula 
Image Credit & Copyright: Dieter Willasch [2] (Astro-Cabinet [3])

Explanation: Strange shapes and textures can be found in neighborhood of the Cone Nebula [4]. The unusual shapes [5] originate from fine interstellar dust [6] reacting in complex ways with the energetic light and hot gas being expelled by the young stars. The brightest star on the right of the above picture [7] is S Mon [8], while the region just below it has been nicknamed the Fox Fur Nebula [9] for its color and structure. The blue glow [10] directly surrounding reflection [11], where neighboring dust reflects light from the bright star. Thered glow [12] that encompasses the whole region results not only from dust reflection but also emission [13] from hydrogen [14] gas ionized [15] by starlight. S Mon [16] is part of a young open cluster of stars [17] named NGC 2264 [18], located about 2500 light years [19] away toward the constellation [20]of the Unicorn (Monoceros [21]). The origin of the mysterious geometric Cone Nebula [22], visible on the far left, remains a mystery [23].