Image of the Day: A Phantom-like Void in Space


Why the unsettling phantom-like black space in the fabric of the universe? What used to be considered a void in the sky is now known to astronomers as a dark molecular cloud – a high concentration of dust and molecular gas absorb practically all the visible light emitted from background stars. 

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. 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. It is possible to look right through the cloud in infrared light. SETI authorities speculate that these frigid molecular clouds may be ideal habitats for advanced ET AI machine intelligence.

Via NASA Apod

Image Credit: Credit: FORS Team, 8.2-meter VLT Antu, ESO


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