A view of the Orion Nebula showing young stars nestled within clouds of dust and gas.

Photo: ESA/PACS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/IRAM

A bevy of baby stars

The Orion Nebula cradles a horde of fledgling stars experiencing the stellar equivalent to puberty in this stunning photo captured using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory.

 

The young stars are rapidly heating up and cooling down as they mature into full-blown adults. The multicolored, psychedelic wisps of gas and dust clouds represent the varying wavelengths of infrared light present within the nebula.

 

Located 1,350 light-years away, the Orion Nebula is the closest massive star formation to Earth, making it the most studied and photographed object in our immediate cosmos. Since Orion is well-known for being a robust cosmic nursery, it is the perfect specimen for studying how stars form.