This video begins with a wide-field view of the sky, before zooming into the Taurus Molecular Cloud region, about 450 light-years from Earth. Dark clouds of cosmic dust grains obscure the background stars at visible wavelengths. The submillimetre-wavelength observations from the LABOCA camera on APEX reveal the heat glow of the dust grains, shown here in orange tones. The observations cover two regions in the cloud, which are known as Barnard 211 and Barnard 213. In them, newborn stars are hidden, and dense clouds of gas are on the verge of collapsing to form yet more stars.
This video pans over part of the Taurus Molecular Cloud region.
The Taurus Molecular Cloud is a molecular cloud in the constellations Taurus and Auriga. This cloud hosts a stellar nursery containing hundreds of newly formed stars. The Taurus Molecular Cloud is only 140 pc (430 ly) away from Earth, making it possibly the nearest large star formation region. It also reveals characteristics that make it ideal for detailed physical studies. It has been important in star formation studies at all wavelengths.
The cloud is notable for containing many complex molecules, including cyanopolyynes HCnN for n=3,5,7,9.
The Taurus Molecular Cloud was identified in the past as a part of the Gould Belt, a large structure surrounding the solar system. More recently (January 2020) the Taurus Molecular Cloud was identified as being part of the much larger Radcliffe wave, a wave-shaped structure in the local arm of the Milky Way.
The newly formed stars in this cloud have an age of 1-2 million years. The Taurus-Auriga association, which is the stellar association of the cloud, contains the variable star T Tauri, which is the prototype of T Tauri stars. The many young stars and the close proximity to earth is an ideal condition to search for protoplanetary disks around members of the association, to search for exoplanets around these stars or to identify brown dwarfs that are part of the association. Members of this region are suited for direct imaging of exoplanets, because young planets glow brightly in infrared wavelengths.
Members of the Taurus-Auriga association with a circumstellar disk or exoplanet:
HL Tauri - directly imaged disk with impressive details
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