Astrophoto: Spooky Fingers Reach Out into Space

Article written: 30 Oct , 2012
Updated: 23 Dec , 2015

Dark shadows and dust in VdB 4. Credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona

It’s the Case of the Phantom Phalanges! Spooky fingers reach up from the dark realms of space in this new image from Adam Block of the Mount Lemmon Sky Center. The image shows a ghostly view of VdB 4, which is a reflection nebula associated with a young open star cluster NGC 225, often called the Sailboat Cluster. Click here to see the entire field of view — which includes a dark area that looks like a spooky Halloween spider. This image was taken in October, 2012 with the 32-inch Schulman Telescope (RCOS) at Mount Lemmon, using a SBIG STX16803 CCD Camera. Thanks to Adam Block for sharing this eerie image!

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Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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2 Responses

  1. SJStar says

    Try this. Turn the image 180° it looks like the creature getting out of the black lagoon, with its front flippers grasping the darkness, and it left back leg over the side!

    The larger image, right-side up, finds the lower black nebulosity looking like a dark gliding seagull!

  2. JonHanford says

    I always liked the spooky appearance of another van den Bergh nebula, vdB 141, nicknamed the Ghost Nebula in the NOAO gallery:

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