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The Coalsack


Proper NameThe Coalsack
Messier NumberC99
NGC/IC NumberNone
ConstellationsCrux, Musca
Right Ascension12h 42m 0s (approximate centre)
Declination-63° 44' 36" (approximate centre)
Distancec.600 light years
c.180 parsecs
MagnitudeNot applicable
DimensionsApparent: 375' x 250'
Actual: 65 x 44 light years
Optimum VisibilityApril (Usually visible from southern latitudes)
NotesA vast dark cloud stretching across dozens of light years in the direction of the constellation Crux. The brightest star of that constellation, blue Acrux, lies in the cloud's foreground near its western edge, and from there it extends eastward into Centaurus and southward into Musca.

An absorption nebula of the southern sky, this large dark cloud fills the southeastern portion of the constellation Crux, almost completely obscuring the light from the stars and Milky Way behind it.

This greyscale image clearly shows the dark mass of the Coalsack spreading across the face of the Milky Way, eastward of the bright foreground star Acrux. Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas


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