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:
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:
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