Home
 Space Photos - SEARCH
 Frequently Asked Questions
 New
 Hubble - APOD Selections
 Earth from Space Photos
 Robert Gendler Photos
 Apollo Gemini Mercury Photos
 Top 50
 Space Shuttle - Space Station Photos
 Recent Requests
 Spitzer Photos
 More Hubble Photos
 Astronaut Crew Portraits
 Chandra Catalog
 Planet Photos
 Comets - Asteroids
 Other Astronomy Photos
 Sun Photos
 Links I Use
 Gift Certificates
 Videos
 
 Show Order
 Help
 Index
 



Click to enlargeHubble Cone Nebula Photo

Buy the Hubble Cone Nebula NGC 2264 space photo. High quality Hubble picture, slide, or Duratrans backlit transparency. NASA photograph H2002-11b . Wide variety of sizes.
Click to see selection as Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) - May 29, 2004


Resembling a nightmarish beast rearing its head from a crimson sea, this monstrous object is actually an innocuous pillar of gas and dust. Called the Cone Nebula (NGC 2264) -- so named because, in ground-based images, it has a conical shape -- this giant pillar resides in a turbulent star-forming region.

This picture, taken by the newly installed Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, shows the upper 2.5 light-years of the nebula, a height that equals 23 million roundtrips to the Moon. The entire nebula is 7 light-years long. The Cone Nebula resides 2,500 light-years away in the constellation Monoceros.

Radiation from hot, young stars [located beyond the top of the image] has slowly eroded the nebula over millions of years. Ultraviolet light heats the edges of the dark cloud, releasing gas into the relatively empty region of surrounding space. There, additional ultraviolet radiation causes the hydrogen gas to glow, which produces the red halo of light seen around the pillar. A similar process occurs on a much smaller scale to gas surrounding a single star, forming the bow-shaped arc seen near the upper left side of the Cone. This arc, seen previously with the Hubble telescope, is 65 times larger than the diameter of our solar system. The blue-white light from surrounding stars is reflected by dust. Background stars can be seen peeking through the evaporating tendrils of gas, while the turbulent base is pockmarked with stars reddened by dust.

Over time, only the densest regions of the Cone will be left. Inside these regions, stars and planets may form.

The Cone Nebula is a cousin of the M16 pillars, which the Hubble telescope imaged in 1995. Monstrous pillars of cold gas, like the Cone and M16, are common in large regions of star birth. Astronomers believe that these pillars are incubators for developing stars.

ACS made this observation on April 2, 2002. The color image is constructed from three separate images taken in blue, near-infrared, and hydrogen-alpha filters.

April 30, 2002
Credit: NASA and the ACS Science Team


H2002-11b
Select Size: 
Surface: 
Follow SpaceImages on Twitter
Want to receive email updates? Click here.
Questions or Comments? Click here to send e-mail.