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Astr111 Photography Projects, Spring 2007

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Rosette Nebula (NGC 2244), Hallie Balcom

Rosette Nebula

Although the Rosette Nebula is significantly larger than what is seen here, this photo focuses on NGC 2244—the open cluster within the Rosette Nebula. Located in the constellation Monoceros, the nebula is roughly 5,200 light years away from Earth and 130 light years in diameter. Its mass is estimated to be approximately 10,000 solar masses (one solar mass is equal to the mass of the Sun). Discovered by John Flamsteed in 1690, the Rosette Nebula is a immense cloud of dust and gas.  The open cluster within it consists of young stars formed from the nebula’s matter. The cluster is actually the only visible aspect of the nebula with low magnification. Only through photographic manipulation and enhancement does the rosy color become visible.

The Rosette Nebula is named such because of its rose color and its circular, flower-like shape. The hot, young stars in the center cluster release ultraviolet rays, causing the surrounding dust and gas to glow. The red color tells us that the cloud is primarily hydrogen. Also a byproduct of the young stars, the strong stellar winds clear a hole in the dust and gas of the nebula. Part of this hole is visible in the upper right corner of this photograph. The linear size of the portion of the Rosette Nebula featured in this photo is approximately 36 light years in diameter. Although the ultraviolet light which causes the rosy glow is not visible to the human eye, this is an incredibly unique and magnificent nebula.

References:
Frommert, Hartmut, and Christine Kronberg. "NGC 2244 and NGC 2237-9,46." SEDS. 27 June 1998. 3 Apr. 2007 <http://www.seds.org/messier/xtra/ngc/n2244.html>.

Gendler, Robert. "The Rosette Nebula." 14 Feb. 2001. NASA and Michigan Tech U. 10 Apr. 2007 <http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap010214.html>.

Right Ascension (J2000) 06:32:24
Declination (J2000) 04:52:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 20x15 seconds in C, 5x60 seconds in BVR
Date observed

March 3, 2007 (CBVR)