ADAM BLOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ADAM BLOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cone nebula and IC 2169, optical image. The Cone is the dark triangular intrusion in the lower part of the bright red region at left. It forms part of emission nebula NGC 2264 and holds embryonic stars in its dust and gas clouds. Radiation from nearby hot young stars ionises the hydrogen gas within the nebula, causing it to glow red. The blue area at right is the reflection nebula IC 2169. This nebula does not emit its own light as emission nebulae do, but only reflects the light of the bright stars embedded in it. It appears blue due to blue light being scattered more than red light. NGC 2264 and IC 2169 are located about 2600 and 1500 light years from Earth respectively, and both are in the constellation Monoceros.
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