The Unicorn

Abbreviation: Mon
Genitive: Monocerotis

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Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius introduced this constellation in the early seventeenth century. Although the constellation is not easily distinguished by the naked eye, the celestial equator runs right through it which means it contains a great many star clusters and nebulae.

Notable Features

Designation Name Description
M50 This is an open cluster readily visible through binoculars.
C46 Hubble's Variable Nebula Although named for Edwin Hubble, this nebula was actually discovered in 1783 by William Herschel. The nebula is interesting in that it's both an emission nebula and a reflection nebula, thanks to the unusual interaction it has with an embedded variable star.
C49 Rosette Nebula This spectacular nebula is often photographed by amateur and professional alike.
C50 This open cluster lies at the heart of the Rosette Nebula. The stars in the cluster are easily accessible through binoculars but long-exposure photography is necessary to reveal the surrounding nebula in all its glory.
C54 This open cluster was discovered by William Herschel in 1791.
NGC 2264 Cone Nebula, Christmas Tree Cluster This open cluster is surrounded by nebulosity, including the dark finger that is called the Cone Nebula.