Cone Nebula & Christmas Tree Cluster, by Tim Christensen
The cone, located bottom left of the picture, is a dark nebula in front of a hydrogen alpha emission nebula. The whole region is about 2700 light years away. The hot young stars at the tip of the cone are also the tip of the inverted Christmas tree cluster. The bright reflection nebula (center) is the base of the tree.
As my work continues to evolve, I push the limits of my equipment and take risks in collecting more and deeper images for a given work of art. Although the total time for this exposure is only 42 hours, I collected double that and culled many sub-frames that did not meet my standards. I aimed to highlight the rich colors in this region. The way the blue reflection nebula fades into the red emission nebula gives the region of space a rich texture that draws your eye to the fine detail of interstellar chaos.
The photons for this 6-panel mosaic were captured in Simpson, North Carolina, in December 2015, and January and February 2016. The image is 42.0 hours of exposure time, captured using a Celestron EdgeHD 800.
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