by Fraser Cain on January 23, 2013

Setting the Dark on Fire
A new image from ESO’s APEX instrument shows a cloud of gas and dust in the  Orion region. Image credit: ESO

When astronomers see dark regions in nebula in visible light, they know  there’s something going on. There’s got to be some kind of star forming activity  pumping out material that obscures the view to the newly forming starts. Switch  to infrared and you can peer through that intervening dust to see the young  stars at work.

Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s Atacama Pathfinder  Experiment (APEX) telescope in Chile were surprised to see a dark region in the  nebula NGC 1999, even in infrared, when the cause of the dark region should have  been apparent.

Ooo, mystery.

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