EcoAlert: Space Satellites Confirm Dramatic Loss of Artic Sea Ice
Strange Dark Nebula in the Sagittarius Star Cloud

From the 'X Files': Ghostly Bok Globules --Possible Habitats for Sentient ET Machines?


Ghostly NGC 1999, a reflection nebula in the constellation Orion, shows a remarkable jet-black cloud near its center, located just to the right and lower right of the bright star. This dark cloud is an example of a "Bok globule," named after the late University of Arizona astronomer Bart Bok.  SETI's chief scientist suggests they should be prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life.

The globule is a cold cloud of gas, molecules and cosmic dust, which is so dense it blocks all of the light behind it. The globule is seen silhouetted against the reflection nebula illuminated by V380 Orionis. Astronomers believe that new stars may be forming inside Bok globules, through the contraction of the dust and molecular gas under their own gravity.
Bok globules are a prime search target for sentient ET machines. These dense regions of dust and gas are notorious for producing multiple-star systems. At around negative 441 degrees Fahrenheit, they are about 160 degrees F colder than most of interstellar space. Data centers generate a lot of heat, and keeping them cool is a major challenge for modern computing. Intelligent computers would likely seek out a low-temperature habitat, according to SETI chief astronomer, Seth Shostak.
"I think we could spend at least a few percent of our time... looking in the directions that are maybe not the most attractive in terms of biological intelligence but maybe where sentient machines are hanging out." Shostak thinks SETI ought to consider expanding its search to the energy- and matter-rich neighborhoods of Bok globules, black holes and neutron stars. 

Like fog around a street lamp, a reflection nebula shines only because the light from an embedded source illuminates its dust; the nebula does not emit any visible light of its own. The nebula is famous in astronomical history because the first Herbig-Haro object was discovered immediately adjacent to it (it lies just outside the new Hubble image). Herbig-Haro objects are now known to be jets of gas ejected from very young stars. 

The nebula is illuminated by a bright, recently formed star, visible just to the left of center. This star is cataloged as V380 Orionis, and its white color is due to its high surface temperature of about 10,000 degrees Celsius, nearly twice that of our own sun. Its mass is estimated to be 3.5 times that of the sun. The star is so young that it is still surrounded by a cloud of material left over from its formation, here seen as the NGC 1999 reflection nebula. 

The Daily Galaxy via NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI)


So where would these "sentient machines" have originated from. you would have to initially have the conditions for biological intelligence to build the machines that might be advanced to the sentient AI stage. So by inference, we could state that if we found evidence of machines we have found evidence of advanced biological life, at least at some point.

Actually, that particular black object in the image is *not* a Bok globule, as it is also black in IR. It probably is what it looks like, a hole in the cloud.

That's right, it's not a Bok Globule but a hole in the cloud:

I hate to point this out to poster's, being such a simpleton as I,
None? Zero? Hmmm,

Strange, you would expect to see a few; since the whole universe,
is filled with them! You know, zillions 10 time 10 to the billion billion, billion....

But, being a simpleton, I suspect they must have been not shinning the night
the picture was taken?

Twinkle, twinkle little stars, where are yous?

Isn't just about anywhere a possible habitat for advanced robotics?

Maybe silicon - based life exists in environments like these. Not artificial life, but non carbon - based life of SOME kind.

Dr Burke,

Yes, we can't see any stars in the "hole," because it is in fact a cloud of gas. Please re-read the second paragraph of the article.

And I couldn't help but laugh at the stars simply weren't shining that night comment. Stars don't shine one night and disappear the next.

Here's a little more info about the gas causing scattering of light from stars.

If you look at the edges of the Bok "globule," at the way tendrils of the purplish reflected nebula seem to overlap both the "globule" and other parts of the nebula itself, it really does look much more like a hole in a cloud than a globule of gas. I suppose the astronomers have plenty of evidence for its actually being a cloud of gas, so I don't question them, but I can't blame an interested amateur for thinking it looks more like a hole than a separate cloud. A hole perhaps opening onto an interior dark cloud (to explain why no stars show in it). But it really does look like a hole, not a cloud.

Maybe we're looking at Bok globules through the wrong end of the telescope:

Bok globules are assumed to be collapsing protostars when instead they're primordial and the elusive dark matter of the Universe!!!

They're the coldest things in the natural Universe which puts a lie to the assumption that they're collapsing protostars since compressing gas raises its temperature, so they're cold because they're primordial, as in 13-1/2 billion years old.

'Cometary globules' are Bok globules with tails due to evaporation from nearby OB supergiants, and OB supergiants, in turn, are Bok globules that collapsed due to shock-wave compression by OB supergiant supernova, renewing the cycle.

The cold molecular gas streaming from cometary globules form (giant) molecular clouds that condense T-Tauri stars.

Population III stars of the early Universe collapsed spontaneously from 100 - 300 stellar mass Bok globules. The globules that have persisted until today are in a mass range of 2 - 50 solar masses which require shock-wave compression to collapse.

So dark matter is not composed of 'weakly interacting massive particles' (WIMPS), as generally supposed, but rather 'luminous matter' (hydrogen and helium) trapped in primordial gravitationally bound Bok globules.

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