In a universe of fantastic images, a newborn star is a mystical masterpiece. Cradled within the dusty arms of a nebula, a baby star seems to blink its way to a new life. The lifespan of a star is a series of sequences. A star may spend most of its life in a “main sequence phase” where nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium is happening in its core. But before this happens, it lives as a protostar, or baby star.
Thanks to NASA’s advanced infrared space telescopes such as Hubble and Spitzer, we are able to view these star births as never before. Pictured here are newborn stars peeking out “from beneath their natal blanket of dust” in the Rho Ophiuchi dark cloud as seen by the Spitzer Space Telescope. (Text: Katherine Butler)