NGC 2264 was christened "The Christmas Tree"
by L.S. Copeland. It is a scattered cluster of about twenty bright stars
and measures about 30' in length - well suited to imaging with the shorter
focal length of the Televue Ranger.
The brightest star at the "trunk" of the Xmas Tree is the fifth mag. S Monocerotis which is slightly variable. At the top of the tree, running to the south of the mag 7 star lies the famous "Cone Nebula" which is a dark nebula stretching for a distance of six light years. This is an elusive object which only just started to reveal itself after adding 14 x 40 sec exposures. It can be seen as the large dark finger protuding downwards in the right hand image South lies to the top in both images. The whole area is very rich in nebulosity.
For more observations of the Cone Nebula visit Jim Shield's "Deep Sky Challenges"
Worth Hill Observatory Index Page