NGC 2264

Alt. Designations: NGC 2264
Object Type: open cluster
Constellation: Monoceros
Distance: 2.7 kly
Right Ascension: 06h 40m 58.2s
Declination: +09° 53´ 44"
Visual Magnitude: 4.1
Apparent Dimension: 40.0´ Dia.
Best Month To View: Dec

NGC 2264 is the designation number of the New General Catalogue that identifies two astronomical objects as a single object. NGC 2264 is sometimes referred to as the Christmas Tree Cluster or the Cone Nebula. However, the designation of NGC 2264 in the New General Catalogue refers to both objects and not the cluster alone. NGC 2264 is a complex jumble of cosmic gas and dust about 2,700 light-years distant and mixes emission nebulae excited by energetic light from newborn stars with dark interstellar dust clouds. The wide vista spans about 1.5 degrees or nearly 3 full moons, covering 70 light-years.