BARNARD DARK NEBULAE PROGRAM
Edward Emerson Barnard (1857 - 1923) was a renowned observational astronomer. In 1887, Barnard joined the staff of Lick Observatory near San Jose, California. His achievements at Lick included the first photographic discovery of a comet; photographs of the Milky Way; and the discovery of Jupiter's fifth moon, Amalthea. In 1916 he discovered that the star cataloged as Munich 15040 in Ophiuchus had the fastest proper motion of any known star. This star has come to be known as Barnard's Star.
His great work, the Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way, was published at Yerkes Observatory following his death in 1923. From this work, a list of roughly 350 Dark Nebulae, (known as "Barnard Objects") was extracted and cataloged. This observing program features 100 objects, each measuring over 10' in size.
A dark nebula is a massive concentration of densely populated interstellar dust. We perceive them because they obscure, or absorb, the light coming from stars or bright nebulae behind them. Make no mistake, dark nebulae are challenging objects. Dark nebulae are difficult to resolve from less than dark locations.