NGC 2244 and The Rosette Nebula

Center, NGC 2244. Rosette Nebula. Image Credit: Robert Gendler
NGC 2244: NGC 2244 is a young open cluster of stars formed in the Rosette Nebula in Monoceros the unicorn. At roughly 5,200 light years from Earth, this open cluster has been forming over the past 5 million years and is composed of numerous large, hot stars. In fact, these stars are so hot that they are responsible for a giant hole in the center of the Rosette Nebula. This is because these stars pour out immense amounts of radiation which pushes away the gas and dust of the nebula. The Rosette Nebula itself is a rather elusive target with a visual magnitude of 9. While NGC 2244 is a naked eye object at magnitude 4.8 the Rosette Nebula requires dark skies and a mid to large aperture telescope. To find NGC 2244 first find Monoceros just North of Orion the Hunter. Then scan the area with your binoculars (or eyes) and you’ll find the cluster! If you are  using a telescope and conditions are right you may even be treated with the Rosette Nebula!

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