The diamond-like sources of light in NASA’s photo are thousands of young stars taking shape in the nebula NGC 3603. The gassy cloud of stellar gas and dust is a well-known nursery of young stars found in the Milky Way’s Carina arm. The nebula is one of the biggest in our galaxy and sits approximately 20,000 light-years or 117,572,510,000,000,000 miles away. NASA’s photo itself covers a portion of the nebula stretching an impressive 17 light-years or 99,936,631,000,000 miles.
The US space agency said: “Thousands of sparkling young stars are nestled within the giant nebula NGC 3603.
“This stellar ‘jewel box’ is one of the most massive young star clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy.
“NGC 3603 is a prominent star-forming region in the Carina spiral arm of the Milky Way.
“The image reveals stages in the life cycle of stars.”
Stars at various stages in their long-lived lifecycle will glow in different hues of light.
Younger stars, like the ones seen in the above photo, tend to glow with a bright, blue light.
But the older a star gets, the light emits will gradually shift towards the red end of the visual spectrum.
Here, the Hubble photo also reveals a number of astronomical phenomena shaping the starry cluster.
NASA said: “Powerful ultraviolet radiation and fast winds from the bluest and hottest stars have blown a big bubble around the cluster.
“Moving into the surrounding nebula, this torrent of radiation sculpted the tall, dark stalks of dense gas, which are embedded in the walls of the nebula.
“These gaseous monoliths are a few light-years tall and point to the central cluster. The stalks may be incubators for new stars.”
In the top-right corner of the Hubble picture, NASA said is a smaller “Bok” globule or cluster or of dark clouds.
These clouds are made from densely paced stellar dust and gas between 10 to 50 times more massive than our Sun.
NASA said: “Resembling an insect’s cocoon, a Bok globule may be undergoing a gravitational collapse on its way to forming new stars.”
The Hubble Space Telescope is a joint operation between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The orbital observatory launched on April 24, 1990.