Taurus-Auriga dark clouds

Map of the near-infrared color of stars in the Taurus-Auriga dark clouds. The map uses stars with J < 16.5 from the 2MASS point source catalog. The intensity scale maps stars with J-H < 0.5 into blue, stars with J-H = 0.5-1.25 into green, and stars with J-H > 1.25 into red. We use this map to learn about the structure of the clouds, which are the sinuous bright green regions on the map. The densest parts of the cloud - where young stars are forming now - are in dark red. By measuring the properties of these young stars and their positions relative to gas in the clouds, we can trace the history and rate of star formation across the clouds.