The Dolphin Nebula (Barnard 252)
Located among the incredibly dense star fields of Scorpius lies a beautiful little dark nebula; Barnard 252. There appears to exist very little, if any, information about this striking absorbing cloud, and it has no popular name. Some think it bears a strong resemblance to a jumping dolphin so they call it The Dolphin Nebula.
This interstellar cloud is sufficiently dense to completely block the light from thousands of background stars in the direction towards our galactic centre. These clouds are full of tiny dust particles, each less than a micrometre in size. Optical wavelengths are easily absorbed by this dust and therefore the nebulae appear dark against any background light. However, radio and infrared wavelengths can penetrate the clouds and allow a peek inside where star formation often occurs.
Credits: Taken from Rolf’s observatory in Auckland, New Zealand/From Rolf Olson Astrophotography