A new image from ESO’s APEX instrument shows a cloud of gas and dust in the Orion region. Image credit: ESO
When astronomers see dark regions in nebula in visible light, they know there’s something going on. There’s got to be some kind of star forming activity pumping out material that obscures the view to the newly forming starts. Switch to infrared and you can peer through that intervening dust to see the young stars at work.
Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope in Chile were surprised to see a dark region in the nebula NGC 1999, even in infrared, when the cause of the dark region should have been apparent.