Amateur Astronomers Capture Magnificent Mix of Celestial Delights in Amazing Photo

Cone Nebula, Christmas Tree Star Cluster and Fox Fur Nebula by Fields and Hancock
The Cone Nebula (left of center), the Christmas Tree star cluster (top of the tree next to the Cone Nebula) and the Fox Fur Nebula (center) are located roughly 2700 light years in the constellation Monoceros. This image was captured by Terry Hancock of DownUnder Observatory in Fremont, Mich., and Robert Fields of Irving Observatory in Howell Township, Mich. and sent to on April 11, 2014. (Image credit: Robert Fields | Terry Hancock)

Two Michigan-based astrophotographers combined their skills to capture this brilliant image of the Cone Nebula, the Christmas Tree star cluster and the Fox Fur Nebula.

Avid night sky photographer Terry Hancock of DownUnder Observatory in Fremont, Mich., used a QHY11S monochrome CCD cooled camera, Takahashi Epsilon E-180 and Paramount GT-1100S German Equatorial Mount.

Robert Fields of Irving Observatory in Howell Township, Mich., used a STL 11000 monochrome CCD camera, Takahashi FSQ 106 APO Refractor and Takahashi NJP German Equatorial Mount. The image was sent to on April 11. [Amazing Night Sky Photos for April 2014]

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The Cone Nebula (left of center), the Christmas Tree star cluster (the top of the tree is next to the Cone Nebula) and the Fox Fur Nebula (center) are located roughly 2,700 light-years in the constellation Monoceros. One light-year is the distance light travels in a single year, which is about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).Hubble's Variable Nebula, or Caldwell 46, also appears toward the lower left of the image. 

To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by readers, visit our astrophotography archive.

Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at

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Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for She began writing and producing content for 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.