5,000 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Monoceros, the Rosette Nebula and Cone Nebula Complex is a visually striking region of the night sky that contains several bright and colorful nebulae:
The Rosette Nebula is a large, circular emission nebula. It is named for its distinctive rose-like shape, which is created by a central cluster of hot, young stars that are ionizing the surrounding hydrogen gas. It spans approximately 130 light-years across and is one of the largest and brightest emission nebulae in the night sky. It is a popular target for astrophotographers due to its beautiful coloration and intricate structure.
The Cone Nebula is a dark nebula located adjacent to the Rosette Nebula. It is named for its distinctive cone-like shape, which is created by a dense, opaque cloud of gas and dust that is blocking the light from the stars behind it. The nebula is approximately 7 light-years in length and is illuminated by a nearby star cluster, which is causing the gas and dust to glow faintly. The Cone Nebula is often imaged in conjunction with the Rosette Nebula, creating a beautiful and dramatic scene in the night sky.
Together, the Rosette Nebula and Cone Nebula Complex make for a visually stunning and scientifically fascinating region of space. They offer a glimpse into the processes by which stars form and evolve, as well as the complex interactions between gas, dust, and radiation that shape the structure of the interstellar medium.