Dark Shrouds in Orion
The shadowy clouds of LDN 1622 are pictured in this observation from the Nicholas U. Mayall 4-meter Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. This image was captured in 2018 by the Mosaic-3 instrument, a wide-field camera used to capture large swaths of the night sky from Kitt Peak in Arizona.
Mosaic-3 has since been retired to make way for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument
(DESI), the most powerful multi-object survey spectrograph in the world. This swap highlights one of the benefits of ground-based astronomy: the ability to upgrade and replace instruments as new technologies become available.
LDN 1622 is a dark nebula, so called because these dense interstellar clouds of gas and dust blot out light from background objects, appearing as ink-dark clouds against a backdrop of stars. This enigmatic cosmic cloud lies 1300 light-years from Earth in the nearby Orion complex, a star-forming region thronging with young stars and other dark nebulae.
This observation was taken before the 2022 Contreras Fire, which affected KPNO.Credit:
KPNO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/T. A. Rector
Image processing: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage/NSF’s NOIRLab), M. Zamani (NSF’s NOIRLab) & D. de Martin (NSF’s NOIRLab)
About the Image
|Release date:||June 21, 2023, noon|
|Size:||3513 x 3609 px|
About the Object
|Position (RA):||5 54 29.26|
|Position (Dec):||1° 48' 28.49"|
|Field of view:||36.59 x 37.59 arcminutes|
|Orientation:||North is 180.0° right of vertical|