Molecular Cloud: Big Bad Black Blob of the Galaxy


Photo: FORS Team, 8.2-m VLT Antu, ESO

The black "blob" in the sky is a dark molecular cloud made of dust and gas that is so dense that it absorbs practically all visible lights:

The eerily dark surroundings help make the interiors of molecular clouds some of the coldest and most isolated places in the universe. One of the most notable of these dark absorption nebulae is a cloud toward the constellation Ophiuchus known as Barnard 68, pictured above. That no stars are visible in the center indicates that Barnard 68 is relatively nearby, with measurements placing it about 500 light-years away and half a light-year across. It is not known exactly how molecular clouds like Barnard 68 form, but it is known that these clouds are themselves likely places for new stars to form.

Link - via reddit


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Holy crap I just noticed you guys have this smiling astronaut in the typing section and if you move your head to the side of the monitor it reveals itself! :)
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