Molecular clouds are the sites of all star formation within our Galaxy, and thus the study of the physical and kinematics properties of the gas in these clouds is essential to understand the process by which new stars are born. The molecular gas can be readily probed using millimeter and submillimeter wavelength spectroscopy. In addition to providing the distribution of molecular gas in this region, the high resolution spectra provide information on the cloud kinematics. This image shows a region of the Taurus Molecular Cloud Complex in the emissions of the J=1-0 transitions of 12CO and 13CO. The 12CO emission is color coded, with red representing gas moving away, blue gas moving toward, and green gas moving at the average velocity of the cloud. Learn more.
Photo Credit: Mark Heyer