Astronomy Fun Stuff: Molecular Cloud Barnard 68

I love to read about odd and strange phenomenon in our large universe. The one I read the other day is on Molecular Cloud Barnard 68.

This ‘hole’ among the stars is what is called a dark molecular cloud where the concentration of dust and gas is so dense that is shuts out practically all the visible light from background stars (it’s possible to see through them in infrared light, though). Barnard 68 is a classic example of this.

Because no stars are visible in the center indicates the cloud is rather nearby, with current calculations placing it about 500 light-years away and approximately half a light-year across. It’s not known how these cold clouds form, but it is known that the clouds are places new stars can form.

Small article at Astronomy Picture of the Day

Plot bunnies anyone? Of isolated suns in the midst of a dark molecular cloud? Of a ship trapped inside?

Astronomy Fun Stuff: Molecular Cloud Barnard 68

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J.A. Marlow

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3 thoughts on “Astronomy Fun Stuff: Molecular Cloud Barnard 68”

  1. I wonder how many planets are hidden inside the cloud cover, just waiting for a star to form and warm up the hidden planets once the dust is compressed. The more I learn, I realise we know so very little about the wide spaces between star systems.

    • Maybe a rogue planet flung off out of another solar system? Many mechanism could cause that. I do wonder if anyone has written up the formation of a planet outside of a solar system. Brown dwarfs aren’t much bigger and warmer than large Jupiters, but there we would be talking about gas giants. Hmm, well, maybe have one form around a brown dwarf? Or a large Jupiter that doesn’t quite get to the size of a small sun?

      So many possibilities. 😛

  2. An amazing phenomena, considering that so much of space is filled with starlight and we really have to look hard for places devoid of it.

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