Monday, January 9, 2012

Elephant's trunk

      Almost always when something stands between me and the stars I get rather annoyed, to put it politely. Especially when it's a cloud. 

     Well, this is one of those few exceptions: a dense cloud of gas and dust, minding his own business in our galaxy which does exactly that, and... I love it! :) 

    This particular cloud can be seen in the (Earth) cloud-less nights in Cepheus and it's about 2500 light years away. Inside it there are a few very, very young stars, only a few thousand of years old and a few more forming right now. The bright rim you can see in the lower part of the nebula is ionized gas by light from a massive star just outside the field of view, in the lower part of the image. In some time from now, this dark cloud might start to look a lot like this.


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