· · · ·

Molecular cloud in Scorpius

Show on Sky Map

Proper NamesLupus V, Lupus 5
Messier NumberNone
NGC/IC NumberNone
ConstellationScorpius (extending westward into Lupus)
Right Ascension16h 21m 0s
Declination-37° 30' 0"
Distance489 light years
150 parsecs
DimensionsApparent: 5° 50' x 4° 25'
Actual: c. 50 light years
Optimum VisibilityJune

Lupus V is the designation given to a dense and dark cloud of interstellar gas on the edges of the Milky Way as it runs through Scorpius. This is one of several such clouds that belong to the Lupus Cloud Complex (hence the use of 'Lupus' in the cloud's name rather than 'Scorpius', despite its host constellation). The cloud is largely composed of molecular hydrogen, which is not easily detectable in visible light, and so it appears as a dark patch against the Milky Way beyond. Nonetheless, this is a site of star formation, and new stars are emerging from within the gases of the cloud.

Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas

Lupus V, and indeed the entire complex to which it belongs, is among the closest star-forming regions to the Sun. The distance is not known with precision, but the cloud appears to lie approximately five hundred light years (or 150 parsecs) from the Solar System. The cloud complex is associated with the extensive Scorpius-Centaurus association of stars, and the massive stars of this association are thought to have strongly affected the formation of Lupus V and its neighbouring molecular clouds. One suggested origin for the Lupus clouds is that they were compressed by the shockwaves of supernovae among these massive stars, so that the star-forming regions of Lupus V represent an older generation of dying stars giving rise, indirectly, to a new stellar population.


Related Entries