Two colorful nebulas shine side by side in a spectacular new skywatcher image.
Astrophotography duo Bob and Janice Fera took this photo in January 2012 from Eagle Ridge Observatory in Foresthill, Calif. The two nebulas in the photo are called the Cone and Foxfur nebulas. They are part of a larger system called NGC 2264, which is located in the Monoceros constellation about 2,600 light-years away from Earth. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).
The Cone Nebula's unusual shape comes from an intervening dark cloud near the swirl of hydrogen gas and dust. The Foxfur Nebula is so named because it resembles a woman's luxurious stole. Both of these cosmic structures are part of the larger NGC 2264 star-forming region.
Editor's note: If you have an amazing skywatching photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for Space.com. She began writing and producing content for Space.com in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.