A Cosmic Keyhole

V380 Orionis is a reflection nebula, a cloud of dust and gas illuminated by a young star. At its center is an inky black region that appears like a keyhole into a darkened space beyond the nebula. When the Hubble telescope took this image in 1999, it wasn’t clear if the apparent keyhole was an actual hole through the nebular material, or a dark mass of particularly cold gas or dust. Subsequent observations by the Herschel Space Observatory confirmed that the keyhole really is a hole offering a view to space on the far side of the nebula.

Video Credit: ESA