Universe

Fox hair nebula. Astronomical digital images

Fox hair nebula. Astronomical digital images

The nebula surrounding the bright star S Mon is full of dark dust and incandescent gas. The strange shapes surrounding this star originate from fine dust that reacts with energetic light and hot gas expelled by the young stars.

The region just below S Mon, the bright star of this photograph, is called the Fox Hair Nebula because of its color and texture.

The blue that shines around S Mon results from reflection, where the neighboring dust reflects the light of the bright star. The most diffuse red glow results from the emission, where stellar light ionizes hydrogen gas. Pink areas are illuminated by a combination of the two processes.

S Mon is part of a young open cluster of stars called NGC 2264, located 2500 light years away towards the constellation Monoceros, just north of the Cone Nebula.

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