NGC 2264 -- Open Cluster in Monoceros
The Open Cluster Hiding the “Throne of God”
The Open Cluster, NGC 2264, is often referred to as the Christmas Tree Cluster, but to me
seeing a Christmas tree in this cluster, is difficult. It might be due to the orientation through
my refractor where the tree is upside down and mirror-reverse. Besides, to me, the
Christmas Tree Cluster should be M103 in Cassiopeia.
The NGC 2264 designation represents both the Open Cluster and the famous Cone Nebula
in which it is imbedded. Even with OIII and H-beta nebula filters, I could not make out the
Cone Nebula with the 110mm refractor on the night of the drawing. Even using my 18-inch
Dobsonian-telescope from a dark site, the Cone Nebula is not all that impressive. The
wonderful Hubble photograph of the Cone Nebula shows it as a magnificent structure that
is truly beyond words. The photograph has been named by some as the “Throne of God”.
NGC 2264 is attractive and despite the limitations of my telescope and imagination, it
should not be passed over.