Like cascading snowflakes in the interstellar night, the strange shapes and textures of the stars in the Snowflake Cluster abound in the Cone Nebula. These patterns result from the tumultuous unrest that accompanies the formation of the open cluster of stars known as NGC 2264. Bright stars from the cluster dot the field and they soon heat up and destroy the gas and dust mountains in which they formed. One such dust mountain is the famous Cone Nebula, visible in the above image on the left, pointing toward a bright star near the center of the field.
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, P. S. Teixeira (CfA)
Explanation from: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_982.html