Christmas at 2,500 light-years from Earth –a portion of NGC 2264, a colossal cloud of gas and dust that is actively forming stars. A fraction of these stars are massive, 20 or more times the mass of the Sun; extremely luminous, hot, blue stars. The image, taken using the European Southern Observatory’s Wide Field Imager camera on a 2.2-meter telescope in Chile, approximates natural colors, with blue, blue, and red, red. No ornaments needed!
Image credit: section of NGC 2264, a cluster of young, hot stars that happens to make an outline of a Christmas tree as seen from Earth. ESO