The Christmas Tree Cluster
Light up your holidays with the greatest natural show the sky has to offer!
“Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark?
Clark: No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.”
–National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
It’s the night before Christmas, but little did you know,
that up in the skies, there’s a tree all aglow?
With a brilliant blue base and great starry outlines,
the real tree shows up thanks to hydrogen’s signs!
From twenty-six hundred great light-years away,
it’s a great festive treat to be seen Christmas day.
With decorative wonders throughout that won’t stop,
the Cone Nebula is the angel on top!
With only great care can you see what’s in store,
As every new element shows a bit more.
The blue light reflects while the gas glows deep red,
while the stars are for you, if you look overhead.
Just star-hop from Orion: from Betelgeuse, leap east,
then a small step up north, for an eye-catching feast.
Once you’re there, stars — like baubles — will light up your tree,
with more sights unveiled through night photography.
While the greatest of pictures comes from ESO,
as the full suite of science puts on quite a show.
So this holiday, don’t give a dustbuster,
Instead, share the joy of the Christmas Tree Cluster!
Leave your holiday comments at the Starts With A Bang forum on Scienceblogs!