March 2023 - Picture of the Month
The Chamaeleon II Dark Cloud Complex
Last month we had bright clouds, and this month's clouds are dark. We remain in the southern hemisphere for a dramatic image of dust against a dense star field. Chamaeleon is home to three of these dark cloud complexes.
The first of these, Cha I, was covered in March 2019 when Picture of the Month took a look at the reflection nebulae Ced 110 and Ced 111. The star formation isn't as obvious here in Cha II, but there's plenty going on inside those molecular clouds: those Herbig-Haro Objects near the middle of this field are a giveaway. Cha III apparently displays no current star formation.
Cha II is about 500–600 light-years away on the edge of the Local Bubble and it's at least 5 light-years across. It weighes in at around 1500–2000 solar masses that are only just beginning to be convert into stars.
James Whinfrey - Website Administrator.