Monday, November 11, 2013

T-Tauri Molecular Cloud

This utterly stunning image is of a star-forming region in the Taurus Molecular Cloud, which is located about 450 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Taurus. The area is filled with intricate filaments of dense material, with each obscuring the light from newly-born, still embedded, stars. Here, one can see two specific regions in the cloud. The first distinct region is in the upper-right part of the filament, which extends more than 10 light-years in length; known as Barnard 211. The other, dubbed Barnard 213, can be seen in the lower-left hand portion of the image.

Both names come from a 20th-century astronomer named Edward Emerson Barnard, who argued that the overall look of this area - and similar T Tauri regions - is due to obscuring matter in space. Barnard went on to catalog various "dark markings of the sky," which we now know as dark nebulae.

Learn more about this region - and how this image was formulated - here:

Image Credit: ESO/APEX (MPIfR/ESO/OSO)/A. Hacar et al./Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin.

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