Trifid Nebula, c 2005.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 20cm x 32cm

Trifid Nebula, c 2005.

© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society


Image from NASA's Spitzer infrared telescope showing a vibrant cloud called the Trifid Nebula dotted with glowing stellar 'incubators'. Tucked deep inside these incubators are rapidly growing embryonic stars, whose warmth Spitzer was able to see for the first time with its powerful heat-seeking eyes. The new view offers a rare glimpse at the earliest stages of massive star formation - a time when developing stars are about to burst into existence. 'With Spitzer, it's like having an ultrasound for stars', said Spitzer scientist Dr Jeonghee Rho. 'We can see into dust cocoons and visualize how many embryos are in each of them'.

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