Composite image showing young stars in and around molecular cloud Cepheus B.
An infrared dark cloud (IRDC) is a cold, dense region of a giant molecular cloud. They can be seen in silhouette against the bright diffuse mid-infrared emission from Galactic plane.
Infrared dark clouds have only been recently discovered in 1996 using the ISO  and therefore are in need of further research.
Astronomers believe that they represent the earliest stage in the formation of high-mass stars  and are therefore of great importance for understanding the star formation process as a whole.
Statistics and Mass
||This section requires expansion. (December 2010)