Fox Fur Nebula

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Fox Fur Nebula
Emission nebula
H II region
FoxFur Nebula from the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter Schulman Telescope courtesy Adam Block
Fox Fur Nebula
Observation data: J2000 epoch
SubtypeDiffuse + Dark
Distance2,700 ly
DesignationsNGC 2264, Sh2-273
See also: Lists of nebulae

Fox Fur Nebula is a nebula located in Monoceros and included in the NGC 2264 Region. In the Sharpless catalog it is number 273.


This enigmatic formation of gas and dust lies in the constellation of Monoceros (the Unicorn) not far off the right arm of Orion. This is a close-up of a small section of a much larger complex, generally known as the Christmas Tree cluster. The mysterious Cone Nebula is also a part of this same cloud.

The red regions of this nebula are caused by hydrogen gas that has been stimulated to emit its own light by the copious ultraviolet radiation coming from the hot, blue stars of the cluster. The blue areas shine by a different process: they are mainly dust clouds that reflect the bluish light of the same stars.

Its popular name arises because the nebula looks like the head of a stole made from the fur of a red fox.

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