Did a telescope reveal a 'hole' in space?
European astronomers took a break from looking at stars, and instead focused on an apparent empty spot in space.
H. Arce, Bo Reipurth/ESO/FILE/AP
Shot with a 2.2-meter MPG/ESO telescope, the remarkably sharp image depicts a dark spot named LDN1774, with tentacle-like arms reaching out from the spot's center.
As the observatory notes in a press release, this is no hole. Instead, the dark spot is made up of thick, opaque dust that blocks the stars.
This dust helps form a dark molecular cloud, a cold, dense area where large quantities of dust and molecular gas – mostly molecular helium and hydrogen – come together and block out the visible light given off by more distant stars. In the densest regions of molecular clouds, stars form.
Most cultures have identified constellations by connect the dots in the sky, but the Australian Aborigines have also done the opposite. The Kuringai people's 'Emu in the sky' is formed out of the dark spots – that is, the molecular clouds – in the Milky Way.