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Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2005

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Christmas Tree , Elicia Arai

Christmas Tree

The image above is the Christmas Tree cluster which is also known as NGC2264 which is an open cluster of stars. Discovered by William Herschel in 1783 in Bath, England the Christmas Tree cluster can now be appreciated for its beauty.

An open cluster of stars such as the Christmas Tree cluster is believed to form when a large gas and dust clouds within the Milky Way come together. The basic characteristic of an open star cluster is the gravitational force that keeps the stars within the same area to one another. If you're looking for the Christmas Tree cluster you'll want to look for the constellation of Monoceros, the Unicorn.

This image does not include the Cone Nebula which is the top of the Christmas Tree. The Christmas Tree cluster, like many clusters has a has a diverse age range because it is within the cluster that stars are formed. The beauty of the Christmas Tree cluster is 2200 light years away from Earth.

References:
http://www.noao.edu/image_gallery/html/im0833.html
http://www.seds.org/messier/open.html
http://www.backyard-astro.com/focusonarchive/monoceros/monoceros.html
http://www.astrocruise.com/cone.htm

Right Ascension (J2000) 06:59:43
Declination (J2000) -09:53:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 60 seconds in C, 300 seconds in BVR
Date observed

March 9, 2005 (C)
April 11, 2005 (BVR)