Picture of the Day: The Art of Making Stars

534032main_pia13974_full.jpg

With its bright colors and complicated composition, NASA compared this photograph, taken by the Wide-field Infrared Explorer, to an abstract painting. "The Art of Making Stars," it's called. And that's exactly what it is. The Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex is one of the closest star-forming regions to the Solar System.

"The bright pink objects just left of center are young stellar objects -- baby stars just beginning to form," NASA explained. "Many of them are still enveloped in their own tiny compact nebulae. In visible light, these baby stars are completely hidden in the dark nebula that surrounds them."

In addition to the star-forming clusters, this photograph shows some of the oldest stars in the Milky Way galaxy. On the far-right edge of the image is M80. Near the center on the bottom edge if NGC 6144. "They both appear as small densely compacted groups of blue stars," according to NASA. "Globular clusters such as these typically harbor some of the oldest stars known, some as old as 13 billion years, born soon after the universe formed."

View more Pictures of the Day.

Image: NASA.

Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

Saving the Bees

Honeybees contribute more than $15 billion to the U.S. economy. A short documentary considers how desperate beekeepers are trying to keep their hives alive.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In