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8 breathtaking images of baby stars

By: Katherine Butler on March 25, 2012, 5:22 p.m.
baby stars in the Milky Way

Photo: NASA

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Baby stars in galactic rat's nest

Our own Milky Way galaxy has a prolific birthing center. This image captured by the Spitzer Space Telescope shows three baby stars in the center of our galaxy. As NASA points out, Spitzer is “very sensitive to the infrared radiation emitted by the heated dust in these planet-forming systems.” Younger stars are often surrounded by disks of dust that may play a role in future solar systems. As Discovery writes, “Surrounding many of these young stars are disks of dust and gas that may eventually clump together, coalesce and form planets. Fortunately, Spitzer is very well-suited to look out for these dusty disks.” Younger stars also spin faster than older ones, causing them to “twinkle” when their brightness changes either from cooler spots or blanketing dusts of stars obscuring the view.