Like a black fog churning through space, this view of a dark molecular cloud seems to extinguish the sparkle of distant stars.
Believed to be the genesis of a possible star system, this dusty cloud - called LDN1774 - may collapse under mutual gravity in the future, eventually sparking the birth of a protostar and eventual system of planets.
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This feature was observed in visible light by the Wide Field Imager, an instrument attached to the European Southern Observatory's 2.2-meter MPG/ESO telescope at La Silla, Chile, but it's not the only example of such an ominous looking black cosmic cloud.
Located around 500 light-years from Earth, another pitch black molecular cloud called Barnard 68 resides. Extensively studied by ESO telescopes, this cloud can be probed in infrared wavelengths - this form of radiation can pass through the star-forming material, allowing astronomers to see the earliest stages stellar birth.
For more information about LDN1774 and Barnard 68, see the ESO news release.