Dark nebulae of the Milky Way (photo)

The presented image was taken by the VLT Survey Telescope (VST). It shows a section of the sky in the constellation Sagittarius. Against the background of many stars and bright emission nebulae, a pair of characteristic dark clouds stands out, which patchy outlines somewhat resemble some celestial spirits. But mysticism has nothing to do with it. VST photographed the dark nebulae Barnard 92 (right) and Barnard 93 (left).

The dark nebulae Barnard 92 and Barnard 93. Source: ESO/VPHAS+ team. Acknowledgement: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit

Dark nebulae are clouds made up of gas and dust. They are so dense that they completely block out the light of background stars, forming bizarre vague shapes. Such clouds represent regions of star formation. In them, new stars are born from the contracting and compacting masses of gas and dust.

The dark nebulae photographed by VST are part of a much larger complex called the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud. This area is so rich in stars that on a dark night it can be clearly seen in the sky in the constellation Sagittarius. 

The image of Barnard 92 and Barnard 93 was obtained using an OmegaCAM camera installed on the VST with a matrix of 268 million pixels. It is designed for photographing large star fields, such as in this picture — it would fit four disks of the full moon. The image of the nebulae was obtained as part of a photometric survey, the purpose of which is to map diffuse nebulae, as well as young and evolved stars of the Milky Way.

According to https://www.eso.org

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