The Fox Fur Nebula is an H II region located in Monoceros constellation. It lies at an approximate distance of 2,700 light years from Earth. The nebula is part of the NGC 2264 region, which also includes the Christmas Tree Cluster and the Cone Nebula. It was named the Fox Fur because of its appearance. The texture and colour of the nebula resemble the head of a red fox stole.
The Fox Fur Nebula lies just to the north of the Cone Nebula, near the bright variable star S Monocerotis. The two nebulae are less than a degree away and part of the same molecular cloud.
The Fox Fur Nebula contains enormous quantities of interstellar dust and gas, which are illuminated by the massive young stars that are being formed within the nebula’s thick clouds.
The nebula’s red glow is a result of hydrogen gas being stimulated to emit its own light by the strong ultraviolet radiation from the massive, young, hot blue stars in the cluster. The nebula’s blue areas are composed mainly of clouds of dust that reflect the blue light of the young stars.
Fox Fur Nebula
Object type: H II region (diffuse + dark nebula)
Distance: 2,700 light years
Designations: Sharpless 273, Sh2-273, NGC 2264 (portion)