Our image shows almost in the center of the image the
dark cloud Barnard 72, which is also called "snake
nebula". Barnard 68 is a small, compact and very
dense dark cloud. It lies to the right below Barnard 72. Directly below B72 are
Barnard 69, Barnard 70 and Barnard 74. The dark
cloud complex has a distance to the solar system of about 650 light years.
In the constellation of the Serpens lie numerous, large dark clouds,
which were first catalogued photographically by the American astronomer Edward
Emerson Barnard. The complete catalog of over 300 dark clouds by Barnard
can be found at this URL. Barnard was self-taught and one
of the pioneers of astrophotography. In more recent times he was followed by
detailed studies of K. Dobashi in infrared light.
or dark nebulae are large collections of interstellar matter which either
absorb the light of stars behind them (e.g. the Coal Sack) or when they cover
parts of H-II regions or reflection nebulae (e.g. Barnard 33, the Horsehead
Nebula in the constellation Orion).
shape of such dark clouds is mostly irregular and without clearly defined outer
boundaries. Many of the dark clouds have proper names, like the Snake Nebula or
the Pipe Nebula.
At the left edge
of the image is the small planetary nebula NGC
6369. We show a high resolution image of NGC 6369
The nebula complex around Barnard 72, together
with the planet Jupiter, we show in a wide angle mosaic
Click here or the thumbnail to load a large annoted image