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Barnard dark clouds B 68, B 72 and many others together with Jupiter in the constellation Ophiuchus

Object description:

Our image shows a 2-part mosaic of some large dark clouds in the constellation Ophiuchus together with the planet Jupiter. Image orientation: north at the top and east at the left. Slightly left of the image center is Barnard 72, the Snake Nebula.

In 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, detailed studies by K. Dobashi in infrared light followed.

Dark clouds or dark nebulae are large collections of interstellar matter that either absorb the light of stars behind them (e.g. the Coal Sack) or cover parts of H-II regions or reflection nebulae (e.g. Barnard 33, the Horsehead Nebula in the constellation Orion). The shape of such dark clouds is usually irregular and without clearly defined outer boundaries. Many of the dark clouds have proper names, such as the Snake Nebula or the Pipe Nebula.

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