Image Credit & Copyright: Ivan Eder

Deep inside the constellation Musca, south of the Coalsack Nebula and the famous Southern Cross, NGC 4372 can be seen hovering in the distance with the Dark Doodad floating in the foreground as only doodads float.


The Doodad is a dark nebula located about 700 light-years from Earth. In our sky, the doodad appears about three degrees long, but in terms of light-years, this nebula cuts a swath of space 30 light-years long. It's part of the much larger Musca molecular cloud. The Musca molecular cloud is an active star-forming region, in fact, it's one of the closest such regions to our Solar System.


Much further away, at a distance of 20,000 light-years, we see the star cluster NGC 4372. Globular cluster are massive groups of stars, containing up to a million stars each. They also orbit close to the galactic nucleus and are a trademark of a larger galaxy. The Milky Way is known to have about 150 such clusters, with sum estimates saying about 10% of these clusters remain undiscovered.

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