Christmas Tree Cluster NGC 2264



Scope: Zentihstar 66 APO at f/4.8,  Location: Dos Picos Park, Ramona, CA   31 January 2009,  Camera: Artemis285

Exposure: 10 x 15 min H-Alpha (1x1),  6 x 5 min IR/UV Block (1x1), 8 x 3 min RGB Exposures (2x2).

Processing: Images were captured  with Artemis Capture (as FITs).  Aligned/stacked and dark subtracted in Astroart with Sigma Combine.   H-Alpha , IR/UV Block, and Color channels were scaled and  color balanced in Astroart.  Channels were co-registered in Astroart.   Luminance construction consisted of the H-Alpha exposure blended with the IR/UV Blocking filter exposures. Improved luminance in the blue reflection components resulted form the blend..  Curves and Levels applied in Photoshop to the Luminance construction to optimize object features. Noise reduction was performed on the Luminance construction (PixInsight LE - SGBNR) Final LRGB combine was done in Photoshop using Luminance Layering in LAB color Space.   A color adjustment was made at low signal levels to highlight the red hues. Also, green and blue channel's highlights were  increased. All color adjustments were made with a star mask (i.e. to nebula areas only). A light sharpening was applied with star mask. Final Image size is approximately 1392x1044.


All exposures in this image were guided; North is to the left in this image. This is an extended cloud of gas and dust popularly known as the "Christmas Tree Nebula". At the "tip" of the tree is the Cone Nebula. This region of the Milky way Galaxy is an active star forming region. Near the bright star at the tree base is the star cluster cataloged as NGC2264.  It is a distance of about 2,400 light years from Earth. This image replaces an earlier image that can be seen in the Archives here.  The Horizontal FOV is 110'.

Image center is located approximately - Equatorial 2000: RA: 06h 40m 51s Dec: +1001'43" 


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