Always a good one to image at this time of year as it doubles up as a nice picture to put on the front of a Christmas card. The Cone nebula and the associated Christmas Tree cluster [NGC2264] of stars make a rather imposing sight.
This is once again a rather large region of emission nebulosity, the 3.33 x 2.22 degree field of view of the Sky 90/M25C combination is nowhere near big enough to capture the whole of the nebulosity in this area. Even so, there are a couple of bonus objects to be found in this image. The thing that looks quite like a comet towards the bottom edge is Hubble’s Variable nebula, and the open cluster cut in half on the bottom edge is Trumpler 5.
Again, this is a fairly bright nebula, so my subs at f#4.5 were only 10-minutes each using the Sky 90/M25C combination. However, being an emission nebula this image would have benefitted greatly from some H-alpha which I planned to get over Winter 2007-2008. These plans were thwarted by being unable to find a suitable guide star in the region (?) I don’t recall having this problem during 2006-2007 when the accompanying image was taken, so I’m not sure what the problem was.
Now that I have the new Hyperstar version III, I shall certainly return to the Cone and Christmas Tree region in 2008-2009 and try to get some additional data on this one. My image looks a little “flat” compared to some of the best I’ve seen, and I know that this is due to the lack of H-alpha data. Hopefully I’ll rectify that problem this year.
Clear December skies!!