When we look out over the universe, it's the bright spots that tend to stand out. But the darkness out there is also incredible, particularly in on spot 16,000 light years away, where scientists have recorded the deepest darkness ever seen.
Image: Map of cosmic clusters / NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Zurich
The darkness is courtesy of shadows cast by what NASA calls a series of "cosmic clumps" made up of a combination of incredibly dense gas and dust. How dense is it? Dense enough that it has a mass equivalent to 70,000 of our suns all packed into an area with a diameter of 50 lightyears.
In a nicely balanced move by nature though, those same clouds responsible for the darkness are also responsible for making sure that it won't last for long. Scientists are predicting that the cosmic clumps will evolve into an incredibly bright and massive cluster of young stars.
The observations were made using the Spitzer telescope and you can read more about it in the study published by a group of scientists led by Michael Butler from the University of Zurich in Astrophysical Journal Letters here.