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One of the most identifiable interstellar cloud in the sky, the Horsehead in Orion, is part of a large, dark, molecular cloud. Also known as Barnard 33, the unusual shape was first discovered on a photographic plate in the late 1800s. The red glow originates from hydrogen gas predominantly behind the cloud.
This expansive (1-degree wide) telescopic view looks out along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy toward the cloud rich constellation Cygnus the Swan. It is centered on a bright hydrogen region recorded in the 1959 catalog by astronomer Stewart Sharpless as Sh2-101.
The two brightest objects in the night sky appeared to go right past each other last week. On the night of May 19, Earth's Moon and the planet Venus were visible in the same part of the sky, and at closest approach were less than one degree apart.
A new study suggests there are a mind-blowing 300 sextillion of them, or three times as many as scientists previously calculated. That is a 3 followed by 23 zeros. Or 3 trillion times 100 billion.