Fr.: globule de Bok
A small, roughly spherical cloud of → interstellar dust and gas that appears as a dark compact globule when viewed against the background of an → H II region. Bok globules range in mass from about 1 to 1,000 or more → solar masses, and in size from about 10,000 → astronomical units to 3 → light-years. They typically have temperatures of around 10 → Kelvin. Bok globules are thought to represent a stage in the collapse of a dense fragment of → molecular clouds that are in the process of forming new stars. → elephant trunk.
In honor of Bart Jan Bok (1906-1983), the Dutch-American astronomer, who first observed these objects. In 1947, in collaboration with Edith F. Reilly, he put forward the hypothesis that these globules were undergoing → gravitational collapse to form new stars (Bok & Reilly, 1947, ApJ 105, 255); → globule.