PHOTO Happy holidays from The Christmas Tree Nebula NGC 2264

The Christmas Tree Nebula photographed by Greg Parker

Merry Cosmos! Here’s your interstellar Christmas card from the universe in the form of a spectacular photograph of The Christmas Tree Nebula, or as its known to astronomers, NGC 2264. (Click photo above for a larger image in the gallery. Click that on the image in the gallery if you need a SUPER-sized image!)

Here’s a zoomed-in shot of the Starbol de Navidad:

Wide-view photograph of the Cone Nebula inside the Christmas Tree Nebula

After doing a bit of astronomical research, I’ve discovered that the conical tree-like image above is actually appropriately named “Cone Nebula,” and the Christmas Tree Nebula is the entire image with the “tree” being upside down:

The Christmas Tree Nebula rotated

You can sort of see it stretching from the bottom right of the photograph to the upper middle part.

Meh. I liked the first tree better.

The photograph was taken by British photographer Greg Parker, who has published a book of wide-field astronomical images titled Star Vistas. The book is chock full of stunning celestial pictures taken by the New Forest professor using just commercially-available equipment and software.

From Amazon: “Whether it is to be used as a reference and gold standard for amateur imaging, or simply as a book of beautiful images of the night sky to be marveled at, this book deserves a place in the library of anyone interested in our fascinating universe.”

Photos: Barcroft/Fame Pictures

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