Where did all the stars go? What used to be considered a hole in the sky is now known to astronomers as a dark molecular cloud [ http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/astronomy/MolecularCloud.html ]. Here, a high concentration of dust [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap990509.html ] and molecular gas [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap970430.html ] absorb practically all the visible light emitted from background stars. The eerily dark surroundings help make the interiors of molecular clouds [ http://etacha.as.arizona.edu/~eem/ttau/gmc.html ] some of the coldest and most isolated places in the universe. One of the most notable of these dark absorption nebulae [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/dark_nebulae.html ] is a cloud toward the constellation Ophiuchus [ http://www.seds.org/Maps/Stars_en/Fig/ophiuchus.html ] known as Barnard 68, pictured above [ http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-1999/phot-20-99.html ]. That no stars are visible in the center indicates that Barnard [ http://astro.uchicago.edu/yerkes/virtualmuseum/Barnard.html ] 68 is relatively nearby, with measurements placing it about 500 light-years away and half a light-year [ http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question19.html ] across. It is not known exactly how molecular clouds [ http://origins.jpl.nasa.gov/poster/bigbang3.html ] like Barnard 68 form, but it is known that these clouds are themselves likely places [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap011125.html ] for new stars to form [ http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~js/ast122/lectures/lec14.html ]. It is possible to look right through [ http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-1999/phot-29-99.html ] the cloud in infrared [ http://www.ipac.caltech.edu/Outreach/Edu/infrared.html ] light.