A group of Bok globules in IC 2948
AAO image reference AAT 77.    « Previous || Next »

A group of Bok globules in IC 2948, bok_globule.jpg, ic2948.jpg
Top left is NE. Image width is about 11 arc min
Image and text © 1991-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory, photograph by David Malin.

Between the the Southern Cross and the rich Carina region, on the southern border of Centaurus, is a large, almost featureless emission nebula, IC 2948, with a sprinkling of bright stars, Collinder 249. It is against this uniform, bright backdrop that we see a small group of dark clouds of the kind known as 'Bok globules'. They are named for the Dutch-American astronomer who first drew attention to them as the possible sites of star formation.

These dark markings are discrete, opaque dust clouds, the largest containing enough material to form several stars the mass of the sun. The globules are not some line of sight coincidence; the brightened rim of the largest clearly shows it to be associated with the nebulosity of IC 2948, at a distance of about 6000 light years.

Related Images
AAT 108.  The large emission nebula IC 2948
Constellation of Centaurus (external site)

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Updated by David Malin, 2010, August 1