Where In The Universe #35

Article written: 24 Dec , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

Are you ready for another Where In The Universe Challenge? Take a look and see if you can name where in the Universe this image is from. Give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for the image. As usual, we’ll provide the image today, but won’t reveal the answer until tomorrow. This gives you a chance to mull over the image, drink some eggnog, and provide your answer/guess in the comment section — if you dare! Check back tomorrow on this same post to see how you did. Good luck and enjoy the holidays!

UPDATE (12/25): The answer has now been posted below. If you haven’t made your guess yet, no peeking before you do!!

In this holiday edition of Where In The Universe, newborn stars, hidden behind thick dust in visible light, are revealed in infrared in this image of a part of the Christmas Tree Cluster from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Two instruments created this image, Spitzer’s Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) and Multiband Imaging Photometer (MIPS) instruments.

Astronomers nicknamed this the “Snowflake Cluster,” the stars appear to have formed in regularly spaced intervals along linear structures in a configuration that resembles the pattern of a snowflake.

More info on this image.

Best wishes for the merriest of whatever holiday you may celebrate.

30 Responses

  1. Thomas says

    Sweet, finally one that I don’t know.

  2. Jorge says

    Oh, you know, all star forming nebulae look the same to me. So I don’t have a clue which one is this one.

    I do know it’s photographed in the infrared, though, so I’m guessing the culprit is Spitzer.

  3. Rob Kwekkeboom says


    I want to make a report about a rare fenomene over The Netherlands, this evening (22:43 Dutch time)
    I saw a Orange glow, comming from the NNW, direction SSE. Thanks to the clear sky (cloudy just a few hours before) i was able to follow the glow until almost horizon.
    The speed was much faster than a plane, and no sound or smoke-trail visible.
    The glowing was intense, must be a fire. But not like a meteor, it lasted visible for over almost a minute, when it diappeared behind clouds in the distance, app. 5 degrees above horizon.
    As far as i could see the track stayed at a constant hight above earth.

    Do you know anything about an accident in space?
    To me it seemed to be a burning thing, size not know, but big enough to see over this distance. Not dimming until it disappeared behind clouds.

    With regards,
    Rob Kwekkeboom
    The Netherlands.
    Coord: 53’04”28 N, 06’23”51 E.

  4. GARY GEORGE says

    Nebulae in the L.M.C in the southern skies ,
    as far as the spacecraft i really don’t know
    merry christmas everyone.

  5. jasond says

    It’s NGC 2264: The Christmas Tree Cluster, The Fox Fur Nebula, the Snowflake Cluster, and the Cone Nebula.


  6. Don Alexander says

    This is obviously a Spitzer IRAC image.

    Also obviously a star-forming region, which seems to show sequential star-formation. The newest region is in the lower right, still quite buried.

    My guess (though I’m not entirely sure) is NGC 2264, the Christmas Tree Cluster, next to the Cone Nebula. The extremely bright star might by NGC 2264 IRS-2.

  7. My guess: The Tarantula Nebula; Photographed by Cassini

  8. Photon Hunter says

    NGC 2264, The Cone Nebula and Christmas Tree Cluster as imaged by Spitzer.

  9. maudyfish says

    That’s what I thought too at first “Photon Hunter”but there are some differences therefore it is the Christmas Tree Cluster!

    Best Wishes for the Holidays!!


  10. Luis says

    The Stellar Snowflake Cluster!

  11. El sofista says

    NGC 2264, the Cone Nebula and Christmas Tree Cluster created by Spitzer’s IRAC and MIPS instruments. Also known as the “Snowflake Cluster”.

    Happy Holidays 🙂


  12. Danielpsx says

    mmm, i think it is the zone where the stars are born, responsible hubble. sorry for my horrible english.

  13. Navneeth says

    And you said something about making things harder this time, hmm…


    Cone Nebula and Christmas Tree Cluster

  14. Vino says

    Hi! i really dont know the name of the object other than the fact that it is a Nebulous region of gas and dust..Probably captured by Spitzer or Chandra!!

  15. Yael Dragwyla says

    The Snowflake Cluster (to the right) and the Cone Nebula (to the left) in Monoceros.

  16. Dan Tillmanns says

    You used this image 3 years ago. This time. you turned it 90 degrees.

  17. Eduardo says

    De acuerdo con Dan Tillmans… creo que ya la habiamos visto aqui, y si, es el árbol de navidad de Spitzer, aunque… de verdad es hermosa, Nancy. Gracias!!!

  18. Elizabeth Johnson says

    Is it possible to purchase this photo? Do you have it printed for purchase?

  19. Astrofiend says

    Why do you morons insist on posting links to the answer? Congratulations; you can search the internet to find answers to questions. Genius.

  20. Toni says

    Hey astrofiend,

    Just wondering where you pull your answers from…….
    Is there a high horse nebula out there we can name after you?

    Merry xmas to all.

  21. Randy says

    I’ll go with the majority on this one but it is tricky.

  22. neoguru says

    Last one was too easy, this one’s too tough! Good balance! It’s a nebula, thaz about all I can say….

    Don’t forget to keep the “X” in XMas!

  23. maudyfish says

    You need to ask NORAD if they were tracking anything unusual since they are the official poster for St. Nikolaus’s route, Rob Kwekkeboom!!!!

  24. Ionguy says

    That´s a tough one as every wisp in a supernova remnant can have a name. It seems like a Hubble optical and Spitzer IR composite. The round dust or gas globules near the bright star look interesting. Perhaps stellar nurseries and protoplanetary disks hide inside.

  25. Shaula Brant says

    I actually had the Spitzer Space Telescope correct, but did not have a clue on the actual object.

  26. Jorge says

    If you ignorant geniouses of copy-paste don’t respect the rest of us, which you obviously don’t, and aren’t bothered by the fact that what you do is to make blatantly clear to everybody that all you do know is how to use google, at least try to respect Nancy, who’ve asked repeatedly not to put pointers to the answers you dug up.

    If these kids keep refusing to play by the rules, though, the only solution is to withheld comments until the answer is posted.

  27. Cheryl Stansberry says


  28. rikta says

    I thk the image come from the telescope Chandra X-ray Observatory. The image is perhaps a supernova remnant

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