Dark nebulae snake
across a gorgeous expanse of stars in
constellation Ophiucus and the center
of our Milky Way Galaxy.
In fact, the central
S-shape seen here is well known as the
It is also listed as Barnard 72 (B72), one of 182
dark markings of the sky
cataloged in the early 20th century
by astronomer E. E. Barnard.
Unlike bright emission nebulae and star clusters,
are interstellar dark clouds of obscuring
gas and dust.
Their shapes are visible in
only because they lie in the foreground along
line of sight to rich star fields
and glowing stellar nurseries near the plane of our Galaxy.
Many of Barnard's dark nebulae are themselves likely sites
of future star formation.
is a few light years across and about 650 light years away.