At this very instant, five thousand light years from Earth, near the centre of our galaxy, new stars are forming in a region of interstellar gas and dust called the Lagoon Nebula.
Bright, hot young stars blaze amid dark clouds of dust and bright streaks of glowing gas. Remember that some of those stars are several times larger than the Sun, yet they’re dwarfed by these streaks of gas and dust. For a more precise sense of scale, the whole image is about 40 light years across.
Eventually, that gas will form new stars, which will capture more gas and dust around themselves to form their own solar systems.
Image Credit: University of Arizona
The 32-inch Schulman Telescope at the University of Arizona’s Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter captured this dramatic image of the nebula. If you have your own telescope, look for the Lagoon Nebula in the constellation Sagittarius.