SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics


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NGC 2264 (Cone Nebula/Xmas Tree Cluster)

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Orion ED80 (80mm f/7.5 APO Refractor)
Configuration: Focal Reduced
Additional Optics: William Optics 2" APO 0.8x Reducer/Field Flattener
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 480mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/6
Exposure: 32 x 8min @ ISO 1600
Total Exposure: 4hrs, 16min
Date: 2/23/2006 7:40:35 PM PST (start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: GADFly 1.0.5
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow


  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal.
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching.
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is NGC 2264, aka, the Cone Nebula and Christmas Tree Cluster in the constellation of Monoceros. The Christmas Tree Cluster is upside down, and its outline can be seen by mousing-over the image above. (Javascript must be enabled to see the effect.) The Cone Nebula (LDN 1613) is actually the Dark Nebula superimposed on the background emission nebula.

This is another extremely faint nebula, which 4+ hours of exposure barely brings out - at least under light polluted skies. I again used longer exposures (8min) and higher ISO (1600) in order to better resolve the nebula.

A higher-resolution image is also available. North is up.