Christmas Tree Cluster NGC 2264



Scope: C8 at f/3.1,  Location: Blair Valley, Anza Borrego Desert,, CA   29 December 2005,  Camera: Artemis285

Exposure: 6 x 360 sec H-Alpha (1x1),  8 x 60 sec RGB Exposures (2x2).

Processing: Images were captured  with Artemis Capture (as FITs).  Aligned/stacked in Registax 3 and saved as FITS. Luminance,  H-Alpha,   and Color channels were scaled and rough color balanced in Astroart. Central gradient removal was done on all exposures. Channels were co-registered in Astroart.  Curves and Levels applied in Photoshop to optimize object features. The H-Alpha exposure data was used as the Luminance channel construction with the reflection portion of the Nebula blended in from the RGB exposure data. Final LRGB combine was done in Photoshop using Luminance Layering (or LLRGB).   SGBNR was used to smooth background noise on the luminance constructon and on final result.  Selective layer sharpening was performed on prominent nebula features. Final Image size is approximately 1392x1040.

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 48'.

Image center is located approximately - Equatorial 2000: RA: 06h 40m 51s Dec: +0944'47"


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