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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT
Southern Crown Star Clouds
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Southern Crown Star Clouds

May 18, 2005
The flowing trails of dust toward Corona Australis, the constellation of the Southern Crown, are visible here not because they glow, but because they absorb and reflect. The dust appears bluer when seen near bright stars because it preferentially reflects blue light. The densest knots of dust are so thick that no background stars or interior stars can be seen through them. These knots indicate molecular clouds filled with cool gas where future stars will likely form. The above image spans about 5 degrees while the reflection nebula lies about 500 light-years distant.