Unfortunately this past winter season was not ideal for astrophotography. Clear skies were very rare and then the nights that were clear were also super, super cold. With that being said I believe I may have been out 4 maybe 5 times photographing the night sky over the past 3 months or so. With spring on it’s way in I am really hoping the jet streams shift, pushing these Canadian and arctic clouds out of Pennsylvania! We have literally been stuck in the same weather pattern for what seems like an eternity.
Ive never really been bothered by cloudy weather, not like I am now a days. Nothing is more frustrating than spending an hour or so setting up photographic gear, only to be invaded by clouds. This is especially frustrating when the people who get paid good money to report the weather to you accurately are forcasting clear skies!
I was thankfully able to dodge the clouds for enough time to photograph one of the more interesting nebula in the night sky, NGC 2264 also know as the Cone Nebula and Christmas Tree Cluster.
The cone nebula resided in the same region of the Milky Way as the Rosette Nebula which I also photographed recently. In fact this gigantic nebula is part of the same super massive network of gas and dust which permeates the Monoceros constellation. This massive, massive network of gas and dust even reaches into constellation of Orion where it becomes connected with another super massive network of gas and dust.
It was’t until quite recently that we were able to visually observe the size, grander and complexity of these networks. In fact it was the invention of the digital camera which gave us the ability to photograph and map these networks out.
Most people don’t realize it but the entire universe is just filled with these networks of gas and dust reaching millions of light years across the cosmos to interact with other regions and networks. Space is really a quite busy place, there is nothing dead, or empty about it.
So once again I really hope you enjoy my integration of the Cone Nebula, NGC 2264. As with most other deep sky object Ive imaged, Im sure I will revisit this one soon to collect more data to add to this image. As it is this image consists of about 25 400 second images. These images were stacked and then processed in Adobe Photoshop. All images were captured using a specially modified Canon EOS 70D camera and a 80mm ED APO lens.