top of page

LDN 1780: The Dark Doodad nebula


The Dark Doodad Nebula, officially known as LDN 1780, is a stark and beautiful molecular cloud situated in the rich southern constellation of Musca (The Fly). When imaged under Bortle 1 skies, where light pollution is virtually nonexistent, the intricate features of the Dark Doodad Nebula are fully revealed, allowing us to appreciate its true depth and majesty.

Stretching almost five degrees in length, the Dark Doodad is a winding and serpentine dust lane that appears like a calligraphic stroke against the backdrop of stars. The nebula is an intricate dance of shadow and light, where cold molecular gas and dust stand out against the brilliant scatter of stars from the Milky Way. 

This nebula is classified as a dark nebula due to the absence of star formation within it. Unlike emission or reflection nebulae, dark nebulae such as the Dark Doodad are characterized by their ability to block out the light from stars and galaxies situated behind them, creating an apparent void in the celestial sphere.

Near the Dark Doodad, observers will find a dense cluster of stars, NGC 4372. This globular cluster is one of the oldest known, with an estimated age of about 12 billion years. These ancient stars, relics from the early universe, offer us a glimpse into the past and the early epochs of cosmic history.

In the vicinity, one can also spot the Coalsack Nebula, another famous dark nebula, and the Southern Cross constellation, which contains several bright stars of scientific and navigational significance.

The Dark Doodad and its neighboring objects serve as a stark reminder of the immense scale of our universe and offer an exquisite visual treat for stargazers and astrophotographers fortunate enough to observe under Bortle 1 skies. Such regions, free from the pervasive light pollution that obscures our view in more populated areas, are increasingly precious in our modern world and vital for continuing exploration and understanding of the cosmos.

Image details

Camera: ZWO ASI 2600mm

Telescope: Stellamira 90mm Carbon Fibre triplet at F/4.9

Filters: Antlia LRGB-V-Pro
L: 65 x 180s 
R: 10 x 180s

G: 7 x 180s

B: 6 x 180s

Higher Resolution can be found here:

bottom of page