Star formation is a colourful business – as evidenced by this chromatic cosmic portrait of glowing gas and dark dust near some recently formed stars of NGC 3572 – a cluster near the Carina Nebula. To wit:

Stars from NGC 3572 are visible near the bottom of the image, while the expansive gas cloud above is likely what remains of their formation nebula. The image‘s striking hues were created by featuring specific colors emitted by hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur, and blending themwith images recorded through broadband filters in red, green, and blue. This nebula near NGC 3572 spans about 100 light years and lies about 9,000 light years away toward the southern constellation of the Ship’s Keel (Carina). Within a few million years the pictured gas will likely disperse, while gravitational encounters will likely disperse the cluster stars over about a billion years.

(Image: Andrew Campbell)

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